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Apple could be shut out of Samsung’s investment in flexible plastic displays

by David Needle

November 13 2012

Prototypes of flexible displays, like the one shown here by Samsung, have been shown for a while, but now may be closer to mass prodution.
Prototypes of flexible displays, like the one shown here by Samsung, have been shown for a while, but now may be closer to mass prodution.

Samsung is making a major investment in displays made of flexible plastic for mobile devices.

The move, reported today by the Wall Street Journal, promises to result in mobile devices that are unbreakable, lighter and even bendable.

Quoting “a person familiar with the situation,” the Journal says Samsung's display unit, Samsung Display Co., is gearing up for mass production of the new technology and plans to release the first of these new displays in the first half of next year.

"The key reason for Samsung to use plastic rather than conventional glass is to produce displays that aren't breakable,” Lee Seung-chul, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities, told the WSJ. “The technology could also help lower manufacturing costs and help differentiate its products from other rivals.”


Those rivals include Apple, which won a bitter patent dispute against Samsung earlier this year and is reportedly in the process of weaning itself away from the South Korean tech giant as a display supplier. Samsung is the manufacturer behind Google's latest Nexus 10 tablet, including the display, which rivals the Retina display in Apple's latest iPad.

Apple could turn to other suppliers. The WSJ notes that Sony and LG Display are also developing flexible OLED displays like Samsung's, though Samsung is believed to be closer to commercializing the technology for mobile devices. 

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