LG’s recently unveiled flexible display smartphone, the LG G Flex, may be just an experiment for LG in its component business as it is speculated that the flexible OLED panels may soon be appearing in Apple’s rumored iWatch smartwatch. LG, along with South Korean electronics giant Samsung, are among the first to market with their flexible display phones–the G Flex and Galaxy Round respectively–though neither products are expected to be widely available outside of select markets. As such, it has been speculated that both phones at this time are experimental products that will be produced and sold in limited quantities.
These early phones may be experiments to help LG mass manufacture the flexible plastic OLED, or POLED, panels for Apple’s iWatch, which may be a more mainstream device.
According to a report on Korea Herald, Apple is testing out various display sizes for its iWatch, with 1.4-, 1.5, and 1.6-inch panels named.
LG and RiTDisplay are believed to be the component suppliers for the iWatch’s flexible screen according to one analyst.
“Instead of relying on one supplier for its iWatch, which will be unveiled next year, Apple will have two vendors to be safe. The key provider will be RiTDisplay and LG Display will be the second,” Seoul-based HMC Investment Securities’ analyst Kim Young-woo said. “Japan Display might also be a candidate, but so far its capacity seems lacking.”
The same report mentioned that Apple had also approached rival Samsung to secure flexible OLED panels from that company, but Samsung was not interested in opening up its production to other companies. Potentially, Samsung could use its flexible OLED panels for its own phones and on future versions of its smartwatch under the Galaxy Gear brand.
Though rumors of the iWatch have been heated lately, Apple has still not announced the product. Apple could debut the product towards the end of the year, but rumors of overheating issues may push the launch of the product into 2014.
Other big names that are rumored to enter the smartwatch category include Google, LG, and Microsoft, Samsung and Sony both already have smartwatches on the market.