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Flexible LCDs will be available from Japan Display as soon as next year

Why it matters to you

Flexible OLED displays are relatively expensive, but flexible LCDs will be much cheaper -- meaning budget phones could soon get curved screens.

Japan Display, one of the main manufacturers of the screens for Apple’s iPhone, is on track to soon offer flexible LCD displays that will be on par with the flexible OLED displays being used in devices like Samsung’s Edge series. In fact, according to the CEO of Japan Display, the flexible LCD screens will be available as soon as 2018.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the displays are made possible thanks to a layer of plastic, which replaces one of the glass layers. While the tech isn’t as flexible as the OLED displays, it should allow for curved smartphones similar to the Edge phones.

More: LG ditches plans for curved display, wireless charging in G6, according to report

Japan Display does say that it already has a few clients on board for the new tech, but before anyone gets too carried away, it’s important to note that this does not mean that a near-future iPhone will feature a curved LCD display. To the contrary, Apple is strongly rumored to be preparing to make the switch to OLED displays in the near future — something that could come to pass on either this year’s iPhone or the 2018 iPhone.

As a report from Apple Insider notes, however, a curved LCD display could be used on a more midrange iPhone, or the tech could be used on things like a MacBook or, dare we say, an eventual Apple Car — however far-fetched that seems.

Japan Display has long competed with companies in China and Korea, and has been criticized for its slow adoption of OLED technology. The company received a financial bailout in December, and as part of that deal, it purchased a controlling stake in Joled, an OLED company that was created by former units belonging to Sony and Panasonic.