LG thinks the future of smartphones is flexible and foldable, and is investing nearly $1 billion in making this sci-fi vision become a reality. According to the Wall Street Journal, LG Display is preparing to build a brand new factory in South Korea dedicated to making flexible screens, in an effort to meet the demand it expects from smartphone manufacturers over the next few years. The astonishing $907 million cost of the factory, spread over a two-year period, was revealed in a regulatory filing, and work will begin on it after September.
The factory won’t only concentrate on the flexible screens we’ve seen so far either. LG Display says once up and running, the factory should be able to produce foldable screens for use not only on phones and wearables, but in cars too.
LG Display is no stranger to flexible screens, and this new factory proves its commitment to widely producing some of the amazing concept tech it has shown off recently. In May, the company demonstrated a giant 55-inch rollable OLED display that could be stuck to the wall using magnets, following on from a 22-inch version it made in 2014.
It’s also been using flexible screens to great effect in its mobile products. A bendy, P-OLED screen is used in the G Flex 2 smartphone, and a smaller, circular version in the G Watch R and the Watch Urbane smartwatches. LG Display’s work on flexible screens is accompanied by LG Chem’s continued efforts to create equally malleable batteries for use in flexible, foldable devices.
When could we see the first flexy efforts emerge from LG Display’s new factory? It won’t be tomorrow, considering it hasn’t even been built yet. However, a leaked LG product roadmap put foldable and rollable screens being available from 2017 onwards — right at the end of the two-year investment period LG’s committed to for its new factory.
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