SEOUL - In the race to develop compact batteries for next-generation smart devices, LG Chem appears to be in the lead - a fact that its main rival Samsung SDI is refusing to accept.
Batteries are critical for creating smartphones and tablets that can be curved or bent. Unless the battery moves the way the device does, there simply can't be flexible devices.
Despite claims from its CEO that the company already has all of the technology that LG has officially put forth, Samsung SDI has been slow to showcase what it can actually do.
LG Chem, on the other hand, has taken the lead, having already flaunted its latest battery technology involving batteries that can be "curved, bent, rolled up and twisted," as the company says.
In the face of its competitor's progress, SDI's chief executive Park Sang-jin has told media that SDI has already developed all the necessary battery technologies, and that it's only a matter of time before "the next big thing" comes.
At the recent InterBattery 2013 event, SDI showcased a solid-state battery that SDI claims to be immune to explosions, even if the battery is punctured.
Unlike conventional batteries whose ion channel is comprised of electrolytes, the solid-state batteries use solid-state sources for safety reasons, mainly involving wearable devices.
"It seems that SDI and its CEO were taken aback at LG's success and wanted to prove it wasn't falling behind," said an industry source close to the matter.
Park, who had headed Samsung's less-than-successful camera division, has a lot to prove, and it seems he is ready to bet everything on the new solid-state batteries, he added.
SDI said it has secured original technology for the solid-state battery's electrolytes and hopes to commercialise it.
Industry experts say mass production, along with technological breakthroughs, are the keys to gaining the upper hand in the battery market.
Meanwhile, in terms of smartphones, Samsung has the lead as it has already rolled out a curved phone in the market coined the Galaxy Round.
LG, on the other hand, has not yet released its own model. But specifications have already been leaked and rumours say the G Flex may hit the shelves as soon as the third week of November.