Samsung files several patents on flexible device form factors

In past months, Samsung filed several patents regarding possible bendable and flexible displays and devices. Samsung says that in the future we'll see new functions and form factor display which will enable new device designs. Samsung's patents cover all sorts of designs, including bendable, foldable and rollable types:

Samsung flexible device form patent image

Some of these designs are obvious and it seems unlikely to me that these can be patented now (although I'm not a patent lawyer and not an expert on patents at ll). For example, the third design in the patent image above has been suggested before by UDC years ago, in a render they made in 2006 or so (see below). Of course it may be that Samsung patents describe some more subtle innovation based on this design.

ETAP launches the world's first OLED emergency-lighting, using Philips Lumiblade panels

OLED lighting based emergency lighting has been suggested back in 2009 by Kenwood, and later in 2010 by Novaled and Willing. But now we finally have the first commercial product, the ETAP K4, in which the pictogram is the actual illuminating OLED surface. ETAP collaborated with Philips to enable this product and are using Lumiblades panels. The K4 is now available and it's about 40% more expensive then ETAP's high-end LED luminaire.

The size of the emergency panel is 227x134 mm, and it is 4 mm thick. The lit area is 210x105 mm. The panel should last for 10 years (the lifetime is 35,000 hours, LT70), and ETAP provides a 5 year warranty. The efficiency is 40 lm/W (this is based on Philips' Lumiblade Plus, developed by Konica Minolta).

Futaba OLED roadmap unveiled, starts producing formable PMOLED panels

Update: Futaba asked me to remove the roadmap from OLED-Info...

Futaba is a small OLED producer, mainly making PMOLED panels (including transparent ones) and developing new OLED technologies. Back in October 2011 Futaba bought out TDK's part in their joint OLED company, which is now a subsidiary of Futaba. The company was kind enough to send us their OLED roadmap for the next few years (you can compare it to Futaba's previous roadmap released in 2012).

Futaba developed curved formable (flexible) PMOLEDs which they call film OLEDs. These are formable panels that can be placed on curved surfaces - but they cannot be flexed or bent by the device user. The company showed a 3.5" (256x64) full-color flexible PMOLED prototype at CEATEC 2012. Some of the panels displayed since were touch (capacitive) ones. One of the technology used in film OLEDs is the company's solvent-free liquid desiccant, the OLEDry-S.

LG says their curved OLED TV is simpler and more efficient than Samsung's one

LG says that according to independent testing by UBI Research, their 55EA9800 curved OLED TV is superior to Samsung's KN55S9C in several aspects. So first of all, LG display's OLED TV is much smaller. It weighs 17.2 Kg while Samsung's TV weighs 32.8 Kg. LG's TV is also 8.2 mm slimmer (4.3 mm vs 12.5 mm) and has a narrower side and top/bottom bezels.

LG says that this is because their TV design is much more simple. They say they use 952 circuit components while Samsung uses 3382 components.

SEL unveils a 13.5" QFHD flexible OLED prototype

During the FPD International 2013, SEL unveiled a new 13.5" QFHD (3840x1260, 326 PPI) flexible OLED prototype. This is a WRGB panel (white OLEDs with color filters) and it uses a CAAS-OS (C-Axis Aligned Crystalline Oxide Semiconductor) substrate.

Toshiba was also showing a flexible panel - a 10.2" WUXGA (1920x1200, 223 PPI) WOLED panel on an IGZO backplane. This seems to be the same panel shown at SID 2013 in May 2013. Finally, Yamaga University's Research Center for Organic Electronics (ROEL) unveiled new flexible OLED technologies, including soluble organic-TFT based panels (on PET).

BOE plans a 8-Gen Oxide-TFT WRGB AMOLED line in Hefei

China's BOE Display is building a 5.5-Gen LTPS fab in Ordos by the end of 2013. This fab will first produce LTPS LCDs, but BOE wants to switch it to AMOLED production. According to OLEDNet, during the FPD International 2013, BOE's Dawei Wang (their flexible technology R&D director) said that in addition to the 5.5-Gen line in Ordos, they are also working towards a Gen-8 Oxide-TFT line in Hefei.

BOE Ordos 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab brochureBOE Ordos 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab

This new line will use high-resolution FMM deposition and a WRGB architecture. We know that BOE is also developing ink-jet printing technology, it's not clear from OLEDNet's article whether printing technologies are also planned for the Hefei line.

Samsung reports a record quarter, sees increased OLED panel sales

Samsung posted their quarterly results for Q3 2013 - a record operation profit of $9.6 billion from sales of $55 billion. Net profit was over $7.7 billion. Smartphone sales growth is slowing, but Samsung's business was booster but memory chip profits and cheaper smartphone sales (what they call mass-market products).

Regarding OLEDs, the company says that high end smartphone OLED panel sales increased. This includes newer products such as the Note 3. For Q4 2013, the company plans to enhance OLED market leadership by "improving differentiated product offerings such as 5.7” FHD (Glass & Curved)".

Forbes says Samsung's S9C OLED TV is the best TV they ever saw

Forbes' reported Geoffrey Morrison posted a review of Samsung's S9C OLED TV. Like several reviewers before him, he says that it's the best TV he ever saw. In fact, he says that the S9C is as close to a perfect television as he's ever seen, with its legitimately near-infinite contrast ratio.

Like most people he's also not happy with the fact that the OLED TV is curved, and of course he laments the high price ($8,999 in the US). He concludes his review though by saying that he can't imagine how they'll be able to get any better then this.

OLED pioneers Ching Tang and Steven Van Slyke were inducted into the 2013 Consumer Electronics hall of fame

Dr. Ching Tang and Steven Van Slyke are two OLED pioneers - in fact you can say that they invented OLEDs back in 1987 in Eastman Kodak. The two wrote a seminal paper on OLEDs that has been cited in more than 5000 publications. Now the two pioneers were inducted into the 2013 Consumer Electronics hall of fame.

Dr. Ching Tang is currently a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rochester. Steven Van Slyke is the CTO of Kateeva - developing an inventive inkjet printing manufacturing equipment solution for mass production of flexible and large-size OLEDs. We interviewed Steven back in 2008 when he was still at Kodak.

SEL shows a flexible rechargeable Li-Ion battery prototype

Now that flexible display are starting to appear, there are still many obstacles towards bendable devices. One area in which several companies are advancing is flexible batteries. Earlier this month we reported about LG Chem curved and cable batteries, and today we learned that Japan's SEL is also developing similar technology.

SEL are showing a prototype Li-Ion rechargeable battery at the FPD International 2013 event in Japan. SEL explains that they have been developing this technology for a long time but they finally show it now as demand for flexible and wearable devices is starting. The battery on display is 50x40 mm in size and 1.6 mm thick. The capacity is 300 mAh and it can be bent bent to a curvature radius of 40mm. Even after 10,000 bending, the properties do not deteriorate.

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDsCambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDs