Japan Display Working On Flexible LCD Panels for Future iPhones

Struggling display maker Japan Display Inc., a joint venture by Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi, said on Wednesday that it will start producing flexible LCD panels in 2018. The company is hoping that this move will allow it to catch up to its chief competitor Samsung, which has been dominating the market with its flexible OLED panels. 

The new LCD panels from JDI will make use of plastic instead of glass that would allow them to be flexible. While the level of flexibility will not be as high as seen on some OLED panels, it would still be good enough to use the panels on devices with a design similar to that of the Galaxy S7 edge as per the company’s chief operating officer Shuji Aruga. These panels will also be cheaper to manufacture that OLED panels which are more expensive to manufacture. Some smartphone makers have also reportedly promised to launch smartphones using flexible LCD panels in the future, with Apple looking at using the display on future iPhone models.

“Mass production is planned from 2018, and we wouldn’t do that without demand from our clients,” said Mr. Aruga. Japan Display’s major clients, according to its financial statements, include Apple and Huawei Technologies Co.

Apple is currently planning on using a curved OLED panel on the premium Plus model of the iPhone that it will be launching this year. The Cupertino company was inclined on using OLED panels on all the three variants of iPhone 8 but has been unable to go ahead with the plan due to supply constraints.

JDI is also reportedly scheduled to start mass production of OLED panels in 2018. However, analysts are apprehensive of the company simultaneously working on both technologies because it does not have the required funds. The company only recently received a $660 million fund injection from the Japanese government as a part of its restructuring.

[Via WSJ]

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