While flexible screens are becoming more popular in smartphones for their ability to be placed on curved displays, they have typically used more expensive OLED technology. Today, Japan Display revealed it has developed a 5.5-inch flexible screen for smartphones that uses the older, but still cheaper, LCD technology.

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AMOLED vs LCD: differences explained

AMOLED vs LCD: differences explained

February 8, 2016

The normal LCD screen is made of glass, and therefore cannot be made to flex and curve around a smartphone. Japan Display says their flexible screen uses plastic instead of glass on both sides of the liquid crystal layer. While it is not quite as flexible as screens based on OLED, Japan Design claims that its product will still be able to be used on curved smartphones similar to the one found on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.

The company added that the new screen will support Full HD resolutions and can support a driving scheme as low as 15Hz in addition to the normal 60Hz driving scheme. It claims this will allow for lower power consumption in smartphones. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before this flexible LCD screen starts showing up in smartphones, as Japan Display says it will start mass production sometime in 2018.

Unfortunately, it's going to be a while before this flexible LCD screen starts showing up in smartphones

The Wall Street Journal adds that Japan Display claims to have already signed up some smartphone makers for its new product, but specific names were not revealed. The company also would like to see its display used in other devices like notebooks and car dashboards.

Samsung has already announced it is going all in with its flexible OLED display technology, and other companies like LG Display are also planning to release similar products for smartphones. It’s more than possible that budget and mid-range smartphones could embrace flexible LCD screens like the one that Japan Display is offering to keep their prices down, while more high-end devices will favor the OLED screens.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.