Watch out, Samsung: LG is betting big on a flexible OLED screen future

Potential for everything from foldable tablets to smartwatches

LG is taking the flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen battle straight to Samsung.

LG is a leader in OLED displays for televisions, but has trailed behind Samsung in bringing OLED screens to mobile. That's about to change as LG just invested $1.75 billion (about £1.33 billion, AU$2.3 billion) in ramping up production capacity for its flexible OLED displays, according to Reuters.

Samsung has long led the mobile display pack with its gorgeous OLED screens features on the Galaxy line of phones. The Galaxy S6 maker was also one of the first manufacturers to introduce a curved OLED display on a mobile device with its Galaxy Edge line of phones.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

OLED is expected to replace LCD displays on mobile phones over the next few years as it offers better colors and can get brighter for outdoor use. OLED panels also offer a thinner and lighter form factor than LCD to help phone manufacturers product even thinner mobile devices.

A regulatory filing revealed LG is building a new production line to manufacturer small- to medium-sized OLED panels to meet demand, a sign this isn't a passing fad.

While OLED displays offer an undeniably better viewing experience, the use case for flexible OLED displays is less obvious. The Samsung Galaxy Edge phones have some unique features thanks to curved displays, but none are must-haves.

However, curved OLED displays make complete sense on wearables like smartwatches. Flexible displays could also be used to make a foldable tablet for a more compact form factor.

Can LG make flexible OLED devices that offer something useful to consumers? For $1.75 billion, it better hope so.