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Flexible display includes plastic, as the chief substrate instead of conventional glass. However in some cases, thin glass, or steel can also be used as a substrate for flexible display. Higher operating temperature is one of the major advantages of glass, and steel based flexible display, whereas plastic substrate offers superior flexibility, light weight, and robustness.
The technical advancements in the manufacturing technology of flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) has boosted up the flexible display market, in past few years. Sony Corp., Philips, and Samsung, are some of the leading patent holders, in the flexible display market. The market penetration of flexible glass in various consumer electronics products is likely to be increased due to features, such as portability, non-brittleness, light weight, and flexibility, within the forecast period. Major players in the consumer electronics market, such as Samsung and LG have started using flexible organic light emitting diode (OLEDs) in their smartphones, to gain a large market share in the premium smartphone market segment. More recently, Apple Inc. has launched Apple Watch, which contains flexible display technology
The transformation of display technology, growing market of display based electronic devices, such as smartphones, TV, Tablets, and laptops; along with the advancement in material science are the major drivers for the growth of the global flexible display market. The increasing market penetration of flexible display is providing new market opportunity, across the value chain.
The high cost of research and development (R&D), interference complexity, and premium pricing of the flexible display are some of the major factors, hindering the wide spread acceptance of flexible displays. Additionally, the complex manufacturing process and high proprietary learning curve in flexible display market is restricting their adoption, among low- end consumers.
Based on different materials, the global flexible display market can be broadly classified, as polymer, glass, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). On the basis of components, the flexible display market can be bifurcated, as organic material, substrate, conductive layer, backlight panel, and others. Based on applications, flexible display can be segmented as smartphone, e-reader, e-paper, tablet, laptop and television. Based on manufacturing technology, the global flexible display market can be segmented, as flexible flat panel display, flexible plasma display, and photographic technology. On the basis of display technology, the global flexible display market can be segmented, as OLED, E-Paper, LCD, and LCOS.
Asia Pacific accounted for the leading and fastest growing market of flexible display, in 2014. The market dominance of Asia Pacific is attributed to high demand of display devices from consumer electronics segment. The U.S. and Canada are two largest regional flexible display markets in North America.
The major patents within the flexible display market are, US 8,275,420 (LG Electronics Inc.), US 8,271,047 (LG Electronics Inc.), US 8,376,017 (Samsung Group), EP2456175 (Research In Motion Ltd.), US 7,751,116B2 (LG Display Co. Ltd.), and US 8,199,272 (E Ink Holding Inc.). In 2013, LG Display Co. Ltd. announced an investment of $900 million, for the production of sixth-generation flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels. With this investment the company aims to manufacture 7,500 flexible display units per month, which is likely to be commenced from 2017.
Some of the competitors in the flexible display market are Universal Display Corporation, Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., Sony Corporation, Polymer Vision, Plastic Logic Ltd., Philips Electronics, Novaled AG, Nokia, Nanolumens, Materion Corporation, LG Display Co. Ltd., Kent Displays Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), E Ink Holdings Inc., Dupont Display, Delta Electronics Inc., Atmel Corporation, and Corning Incorporated.