Talking tech since 2003

This summer, Korean electronics manufacturer LG unveiled its flexible OLED display, which provides a twist on traditional electronics displays. Instead of using straight glass, the flexible display “is built on plastic substrates,” allowing for “bendable and unbreakable” displays that really open up design possibilities. Today, the company announced via press release that it’s planning on mass-producing the flexible OLED panels for use in smartphones.

LG’s executive vice president and CTO, Dr. Sang Deog Yeo, offered up a statement regarding the forthcoming flexible display rollout:

“LG Display is launching a new era of flexible displays for smartphones with its industry-leading technology. The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly as this technology is expected to expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices. Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year.”

Concept image via Wall Street Journal

The idea of having cell phones and other gadgets with curved displays is unquestionably cool—mostly because, from a design standpoint, most smartphones have reached a kind of uniformity that’s making each one harder and harder to tell apart. I remember one time when I was on the phone with my brother, he asked me what kind of tablet I was interested in getting. Eventually, after getting tired of comparing stats and specs, I said, “I’m not sure how much I care what kind I actually get—I just want one of those fancy black rectangles.”

I was kidding, obviously, but the end result is the same: tablets and smartphones are remarkably samey. I can hardly tell the difference between my HTC smartphone and that of a friend of mine, leading to more than a few instances of confusion as to whose phone is whose on first glance. And I’m starting to get a little sick of explaining to people that despite my owning a Windows tablet, it’s not actually a Surface. Simply put: black rectangles are really in style. No wonder there was such excitement to be one of the lucky few to grab a gold iPhone. Anything to be different, right?

So news that LG will start making a big push toward non-traditional curved devices is good news for gadget fans, and good news for design fans. While Jony Ive’s now legendary iPhone design may have dominated the smartphone industry for the last several years, the possibilities of weird curves and twists means that manufacturers will start to find their creativity again.

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