OSAKA -- Sharp is set to begin production of organic light-emitting diode panels for foldable smartphones, as the company aims to catch up with competitors that already have moved beyond liquid crystal displays.
The Japan-based manufacturer unveiled a prototype smartphone with a foldable 6.18-inch OLED screen during a media event Wednesday in Tokyo. The screen can be folded 300,000 times without sustaining damage, according to Sharp. The company did not comment on when the product will come to market.
Sharp also previewed a 12.3-inch OLED panel for on-board vehicle displays during the same event. The company will supply these panels, which can be formed into curved shapes, as soon as fiscal 2021. Sharp intends to sell them to automakers that already procure its LCD panels.
The new OLED panels will be produced at the company's display factory in Sakai. The Osaka Prefecture plant already manufactures OLED panels in limited volumes for Sharp's Aquos Zero smartphones.
Sharp's rivals have a head start in making OLED products. As early as this month, South Korea's Samsung Electronics will release a foldable smartphone using the next-generation display. Sharp will offer both OLED and LCD displays for vehicles and smartphones.