Posted : 2013-10-08 17:07
Updated : 2013-10-08 17:07

LG to mass-produce flexible batteries

Models show LG Chem's cable, stepped and curved batteries in an unveiling event in Seoul, Tuesday. / Courtesy of LG Chem

By Kim Yoo-chul

Kwon Young-soo
LG Chem president
LG Chem said Tuesday that it's been producing curved batteries since July this year at its plant in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

"We've successfully developed batteries that haven't existed before with our own patents, and that advancement is going to help us take the lead over our rivals in the race for next-generation digital devices," said Kwon Young-soo, president of the company's battery division.

The executive continued, "This is one of the greatest achievements for us. LG Chem will expand our leadership in small-sized batteries as well as continue our expansion in being the ongoing leader in car batteries and those for energy storage solutions."

The firm said these curved batteries are already being used to power G2 smartphones manufactured by LG Electronics, the group's consumer electronics affiliate.

LG Electronics isn't the only one that has shown interest in adopting curved batteries for upcoming flagship models as LG Chem is preparing to sell the products to other smartphone vendors, said a company spokesman Owen Sung.

"As curved batteries are totally new but strongly required for the lucrative flexible smartphones, we will have a lot of business opportunities," said the spokesman refusing to name its potential clients for the batteries.

LG's future batteries are categorized as stepped battery, curved battery and cable battery, it said in a press release.

By adopting LG's "stack and folding technology," it can build batteries that will fit inside phones, watches and glasses for smart devices.

While wearable devices will top selling items from next year with leading technology companies preparing to display their own wearable products at the upcoming technology fair in Las Vegas, which opens every January, LG said their cable battery will be ready in the next few years.

Market leader

The announcement comes a day after the group's display unit confirmed it will start production of curved OLED display for future smartphones.

The LG Display-manufactured panels are built using plastic instead of glass. They are bendable and unbreakable displays.

"LG has cleared a major technological hurdle thanks to LG Chem's development of flexible batteries. LG is now one of the most trusted parts suppliers thanks to LG Chem and LG Display," said a senior manager at a private equity fund in the United States via e-mail, asking not to be identified.

LG Display is the primary display supplier for Apple. LG Chem is also selling its small-sized batteries to the iPhone maker as well as leading vendors for smartphones and PCs.

It is currently unclear whether or not Apple will be releasing i-products by using curved displays and batteries.

But market analysts say the curved battery and flexible display market will grow quickly as these technologies will expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices.

LG Chem President Kwon was named to the post after serving as CEO for LG Display. LG Chem said its curved battery will power consumer electronic items with a curved screen.

"Because the cable battery has been designed to use less electricity, the battery does not heat up although the user may operate the device for a long time. Moreover, the waterproof features of the battery allows it to be used in wearable gadgets regardless of flexible figures, from necklace types to smart watches," said a company official.

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