Samsung’s rumored to be building a smartphone with a folding display that could launch in 2016. But Samsung’s phone might not be unique: LG Display is also said to be developing a foldable display for smartphones, and according to ET News, the company is mass-producing the screens to meet an order by a US-based company.
Plans for the phone with the LG display are said to be still under development, and there’s no word on which company placed the order, but it’s described as a “global software business” hoping to challenge Samsung and Apple in the premium smartphone space.
The LG foldable display is said to feature a plastic board and a touch panel that works even after the display has been folded and unfolded 100 thousand times.
Display makers have been building flexible screens for a number of years, but so far most devices with flexible displays have been products like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge which have curved displays that are fixed in place. That’s at least partially because while the screens may be flexible, most of the other components of a phone are not.
A folding display, on the other hand, would allow device makers to put some components on each side of a seam in the middle of the screen, which would let you fold it in half. This could allow you to transform a device from a pocket-sized phone into a small tablet by unfolding the screen to reveal additional screen space.
But that’s just a guess. Maybe the seam won’t be down the center. Maybe the screen can be folded in thirds rather than half. Or maybe these folding displays are just prototypes that will never make it to market. After all, Samsung, LG, and LG’s partner haven’t actually announced anything yet: all we’ve got to go on are rumors and alleged leaks.