iPhone 8: Is this new flexible LCD screen headed to Apple's next smartphone?

Apple has a new display choice in JDI's bendable plastic LCD, if it wants to make a curved-screen iPhone 8.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

JDI's new product isn't as flexible as OLED screens but it is bendy enough to wrap around the edges of a smartphone like the Galaxy Edge.

Image: JDI

Apple supplier Japan Display Inc has unveiled a bendable plastic LCD screen that could rival Samsung's OLED displays found in the Galaxy Edge.

Many reports have speculated Apple's next iPhone will have a curved if not OLED display, but the only company that can produce OLED at that scale is Samsung.

Apple may now have a new choice, thanks to current iPhone supplier JDI announcing the 5.5-inch flexible display, called Full Active Flex.

JDI's new display isn't as flexible as OLED but it is bendy enough to wrap around the edges of a smartphone like the Galaxy Edge, JDI COO Shuji Aruga told the Wall Street Journal.

The Full HD flexible displays are set to hit mass production in 2018, according to JDI, which is aiming to bring them to smartphones, notebooks, and vehicle dashboards.

OLED screens don't need backlights and can be curved. However, as noted by the WSJ, it would be expensive for JDI to mass-produce them since it would need new production lines. The company also supplies displays to Huawei.

JDI's flexible display swaps glass for plastic layers on each side of the LCD, which allows them to be flexible as well as more resistant to cracking. It could even be a battery saver since the display supports 60Hz, 30Hz, and 15Hz driving frequencies.

People familiar with Apple's plans have said the iPhone maker is looking at the flexible displays for future iPhone models, according to the WSJ.

"Mass production is planned from 2018, and we wouldn't do that without demand from our clients," Aruga said.

In a bid to catch up with LG and Samsung in OLED, JDI announced last year that it would also start mass production of OLED displays in 2018 and has shown interest in developing flexible OLEDs.

Read more about flexible displays and mobile innovation

Editorial standards