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LG Display unveils 18-inch flexible display that can be rolled into a cylinder form

In this July 9, 2014 photo released by LG Display Co., an employee at the company demonstrates an 18-inch flexible display, in Seoul, South Korea. The South Korean display panel maker said Friday, July 11, 2014 it has developed the 18-inch flexible display that can be rolled into the shape of a thin cylinder, a step closer to making a large-size display for flexible TVs. (AP Photo/LG Display Co.)

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In this July 9, 2014 photo released by LG Display Co., an employee at the company demonstrates an 18-inch flexible display, in Seoul, South Korea. The South Korean display panel maker said Friday, July 11, 2014 it has developed the 18-inch flexible display that can be rolled into the shape of a thin cylinder, a step closer to making a large-size display for flexible TVs. (AP Photo/LG Display Co.)

SEOUL, South Korea - LG Display Co. has developed an 18-inch flexible display that can be rolled into the shape of a thin cylinder, a step toward making a large display for flexible TVs.

The South Korean display panel maker said Friday the flexible display has a resolution of 1200 pixels by 810 pixels and maintains its function when it is rolled up.

While that resolution would fall within the range of high-definition, images on the display would not look as sharp as the latest flat displays that boast ultra-high definition.

LG touted its technology as a significant advance, saying the cylinder's diameter would be just 6 centimetres (2.4 inches). It means LG Display could produce TVs that are larger than 50 inches diagonally and can be rolled up.

It is based on OLED technology, an advanced display that can show images in richer colours.

South Korean display makers are striving to gain an edge in flexible display technology as they see it as a way to set their products apart from their rivals in China, Taiwan and Japan. They also hope that the novel form would give consumers a reason to buy a new gadget.

Last year, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. each released a smartphone with a curved display to show off their technological prowess.

But it is unclear how the nascent technology would make handsets or televisions more useful. LG said its technology would make large TVs portable and it is up to the TV makers how they expand the use of the technology.

The South Korean company also unveiled a semi-opaque display. Though it is not as transparent as glass, that's the direction that the company is heading. LG named it the transparent display saying its transparency has improved from existing technology.

In the picture provided by LG, it is possible to see hands through the display. LG Display spokesman said it is possible to view images on the transparent display from the front and from the back.

By 2017, LG aims to develop a flexible and transparent display that measures more than 60 inches diagonally, Kang In-byung, head of LG Display's R&D Center, said in a statement.

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Follow Youkyung Lee on Twitter: www.twitter.com/YKLeeAP

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