|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Oct 7, 2013, 4:14 PM|
For a long, long time rivals LG and Samsung have shown off their respective flexible displays at technology shows and in futuristic marketing videos, but those bendable screens might soon be more than just show things.
LG announced today that it has begun mass production of the "world's first flexible OLED panel for smartphones." The company stated that it hopes that products with this flexible screen technology will arrive sometime next year.
And the curvy screen might not just be for smartphones. LG Chief Technology Officer Dr. Sang Deog Yeo said in a statement that the company expects the technology to "grow quickly" and that it is "expected to expand further into diverse applications, including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices."
But LG hasn't necessarily won the flexible display race. The company's announcement comes as Samsung is rumored to announce a phone with a bendable screen soon. According to various sources, Samsung has been gearing up to announce its Galaxy Round in Korea, the first smartphone with a flexible display.
Samsung did not respond to ABC News' request for comment on the Galaxy Round rumors. However, the device isn't supposed to be fully flexible. Samsung told Reuters in September that the display will be "curved" with some rigidity to the shell of the phone. There were also rumors that Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch would ship with a bendable screen. However, the watch has a normal, rigid LCD display. Apple has been rumored to be working on a curved-glass smartwatch, called the iWatch.
Both LG's announcement and the rumors of Samsung's phone set up an interesting future for our big- and small-screened gadgets. Curved displays will enable more comfortable wearable devices and compact tablets and computers.