Samsung, LG, Corning working on flexible displays that could hit market this year
The next-generation of smartphones and giant building-mounted screens are predicted to spur "massive growth" in the flexible display market, driving a nearly 250 times increase in shipments through 2020, according to the latest stats from research firm IHS.
Global shipments of flexible displays are forecast to grow to 792 million units in 2020, up from 3.2 million in 2013, while market revenues are forecast to rise to $41.3 billion in 2020, up from only $100,000 this year, according to IHS projections.
Samsung, LG and Corning are all working on flexible displays for mobile devices that could be ready as early as this year, IHS noted.
"From smartphones with displays that curve around the sides, to smartwatches with wrap-around screens, to tablets and PCs with roll-out displays, to giant video advertisements on curved building walls, the potential uses for flexible displays will be limited only by the imagination of designers," said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for mobile and emerging displays and technology at IHS.
Flexible displays initially are expected to be used in smartphones, with shipments climbing to 351 million units by 2020, up from less than 2 million this year. Once large displays are available, flexible technology will be used in bigger platforms, such as laptops, monitors and televisions.
IHS classifies flexible displays into four generations of technology. The first generation is the durable display panels that are now entering the market. These panels employ a flexible substrate to attain thinness and ruggedness, but they cannot be bent or rolled. The second-generation will be bendable and conformable, and could be molded to curved surfaces, increasing space on small form-factor products like smartphones.
The third generation will consist of flexible and rollable displays that can be manipulated by end users. These displays will enable a new generation of devices that save space. And the fourth generation will consist of disposable displays that could serve as a replacement for paper, predicted IHS.
- see the IHS stats