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LG: Flexible OLED phone coming later this year

Nokia, Samsung, and LG have all been working behind the scenes on devices with flexible OLED displays, but LG may be the first to market. The Wall Street Journal says that the company is prepping a device with a flexible OLED screen to debut later in the year. Yoon Bu-hyun, Vice President of Mobile Business at LG, estimates that the device will be released in the fourth quarter.

It’s exciting to see companies finally bringing such products to market, but it’s important to remember that they won’t be fully malleable devices. The display itself is flexible thanks to the use of a plastic substrate, but the physical body of the phone still has to accommodate solid components like the mainboard and battery. It’s entirely possible that we’ll see a phone with a generously curved screen – just don’t get your hopes up for flexible handset.

Samsung showed off a phone prototype with a curved OLED display at CES 2013, dubbing the display technology “Youm”. The device itself couldn’t be manipulated, of course. Instead, the company opted to go for a conventional design, with the display curving into the bottom and the sides of the handset itself. The concept showed how notifications and updates could still be viewed from odd angles thanks to the curvature of the display.

Even when LG does bring such a product to market, it may not produce them on a scale we’re used to seeing with regular smartphones. The Wall Street Journal notes that yields of flexible OLED displays are low. Still, it’s good to know that the technology is almost ready for prime time, and it’ll be extremely interesting to see exactly what LG has been working on.

[spotted at The Verge]


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