With the active release of Apple’s smartwatch within Korean market, the interest in LG Display’s plastic OLED business is suddenly increasing.
LG Display began OLED development at the similar time as Samsung Display, but misjudgments on OLED potential and marketability led to the late market entrance and folding of the rigid OLED business. With the plastic OLED business, LG Display is matching the progress of the competitor, Samsung Display, and speeding up the development and commercialization.
Already, LG Display supplied plastic OLED for LG Elec.’s G Flex that went on sale in November 2013. Although the panel was 6inch, as the resolution was only at HD level, there was criticism that compared to Samsung Elec.’s FHD OLED which was released in the same period, the resolution fell short.
This year, LG Display supplemented the resolution and succeeded in FHD plastic OLED production. The panel is applied to G Flex 2, and it is also supplied to LG Elec.’s G Watch and Urbane.
For Samsung Elec., they intensively applied flexible OLED to the flagship smartphone model Galaxy S6 and intensified marketing; in comparison to Samsung’s smartphone market control, smartwatch’s is weaker. Accordingly, Samsung Display is mainly producing 55inch flexible OLED.
However, in contrast to the competitor, LG Display is using different business strategy for plastic OLED business. Rather than plastic OLED for smartphone, which has weak market control, they are focusing on small plastic OLED for smartwatch that is already receiving positive response.
Following the uproar within the smartwatch market, created by Samsung Elec.’s greatest rival Apple, LG Display, Apple’s supplier of plastic panel, is making all effort in panel production. Additionally, as LG Display has already secured a position as Apple’s next smartwatch plastic OLED supplier, although the capa. is lower than Samsung Display’s, the line is actively operational.
It is also estimated that LG Display will decide soon on Gen6 plastic OLED line investment to promote closer relationship with Apple. Apple is already seriously considering flexible (plastic) OLED for next iPhone series, and it is analyzed that they requested LG Display for Gen6 line investment for stable product supply.
Although LG Display does not have as high volume of clientele as Samsung Display, it is anticipated that they will establish a bridgehead in OLED panel industry through forming mutually beneficial relationship with a giant company called Apple.