BOE Display, founded in 1993 in Beijing China, is one of the world's leading display maker, producing both LCDs and OLEDs. BOE also produces LCD backlighting units and solar panels.
BOE has been producing small glass-based OLEDs for some time, but the company's focus is currently in flexible and foldable OLEDs. In October 2017 BOE started to produce flexible OLED displays at its first flexible OLED line, the Chengdu B7 6-Gen fab. The annual capacity of the B7 line, when complete and at 100% yields, will be 45,000 monthly 6-Gen substrates, or about 90 million smartphone OLEDs
In addition to the B7 fab in Chengdu, in October 2016 BOE announced another 6-Gen OLED fab, in Mianyang, with a similar capacity. In March 2018, BOE announced plans for a third 6-Gen OLED fab, this one in Chongqing. In December 2018, BOE announced plans for its fourth line in Fuzhou. BOE is also building an OLED Microdisplay fab in collaboration with OLiGHTEK.
BOE's latest OLED prototypes and panels
In May 2018 BOE demonstrated its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs at SID 2018. BOE's foldable prototype was a 6.2" WQHD (1440x3008, 538 PPI) panel that features a fold-radius of 1R and include a touch layer. BOE also demonstrated a foldable tablet (which they call a Phonblet, I am not sure if this term will catch), which includes a larger 7.56" foldable OLED. This panel features a resolution of 2048x1535 (338 PPI).
The latest BOE OLED news:
BOE announced it is raising new funds (a total of $3 billion) towards several projects, including an increase at its stake at its LCD lines and increase the capital at its 6-gen flexible AMOLED line in Chongqing.
According to the reports from China, one of these projects is a $155 million USD project to develop 12-inch OLED microdisplay production. This is a large sum that will also likely include funds to actually start 12-inch production and not just R&D.
We are happy to announce that we added two new flexible smartphone AMOLED displays to the OLED marketplace. These new OLEDs ,produced by BOE, are now available globally through our supplier partners in China.
A new report from China suggests that BOE finally managed to enter Apple's supply chain for its iPhone devices. Only last month it was reported that BOE did not pass Apple's OLED quality test.
According to the report BOE will start supplying AMOLED displays to Apple before the end of 2020. In 2021, BOE will ship 10 million AMOLED displays to Apple. LGD will supply 40 million panels while Samsung will supply 130 million panels.
DSCC posted an interesting chart that details OLED smartwatch shipments by supplier. This is an interesting market as there are almost 10 suppliers with no dominant player:
In fact DSCC says that there are five different OLED panel makers (BOE, SDC, LGD, EDO and Truly) that each has a market share over 10% in 2020.
A few days ago Oppo unveiled the Oppo X, a rollable OLED smartphone that can open up to increase the display size. When closed the Oppo X has a 6.7-inch AMOLED, and when rolled open it can reach 7.4 inches.
According to Gizmochina, BOE produces the rollable display for Oppo. BOE unveiled its first rollable OLED prototype in 2019. According to reports LG Electronics has plans to build a rollable smartphone in early 2021, using BOE's panels.
The Elec: BOE will not supply OLEDs to Apple smartphones in 2021, LGD and SDC to remain exclusive suppliers
Earlier this year it was reported that BOE failed to pass Apple's quality tests and did not become a supplier to the iPhone 12 series (BOE also failed to pass Samsung Electronics's display quality test).
According to a new report from Korea, Apple has tested BOE's AMOLEDs for next year's iPhones, but again BOE's OLED production quality is not good enough for Apple, which means that in 2021 Samsung Display and LG Display will remain the exclusive OLED suppliers to Apple's phones. In 2021 it is likely that Apple will introduce LTPO displays in addition to screens with a 120Hz refresh rates and on-cell touch.
BOE has unveiled a new display, a 55" 4K quantum-dots panel, which it calls AMQLED (active-matrix Quantum Dot LED) display. This display uses electroluminescent QD technology - which is similar to OLEDs but with QD emitters. BOE says the display achieves a color gamut of up to 119% NTSC, and a contrast ratio of 1000000:1.
The reports claims that BOE launched this as a commercial product, but the details are not clear. This technology has been under development for many years, but it hasn't reached the performance required by commercial products, so this is a bit puzzling, hopefully we'll learn more soon.
Yesterday Oppo hosted its Oppo INNO Day 2020, during which it unveiled two interesting concept devices. First up is the Oppo X, a rollable OLED smartphone that can open up to increase the display size:
When closed the Oppo X has a 6.7-inch AMOLED, and when rolled open it can reach 7.4 inches. Inside the phone the display scrolls around a 6.8mm 'scroll motor'. Oppo says it applied 122 patents for this specific phone, with 12 patents protecting the scroll mechanism. This is still just a concept, and Oppo did not disclose any commercialization plans.
BOE says that its current flexible OLED market share is around 20%. The company says that it plans to increase its market share to 40% by 2024 - and become the world's leader in flexible OLED production by then. BOE estimates that the flexible OLED market will generate $49.7 billion in revenues in 2024.
Earlier this month BOE announced that it shipped 16 million flexible OLEDs in the first half of 2020, and the company expects to ship over 40 million panels in the whole of 2020. BOE main problems currently lie with its Huawei account - the Chinese smartphone maker is expected to producing only 50 million smartphones in 2021 - down from 190 million in 2020. BOE hopes to recoup some of its Huawei orders by becoming an OLED supplier to Apple.
During the company's conference call, BOE says that it plans to ship over 40 million flexible OLED panels in 2020. In the first half of the year BOE shipped 16 million units, and it expects to ship over 24 million units in the second half.
This target means that BOE expects its shipments to rise over 130% from 2019 (it shipped around 17 million units, according to Omdia). This 40 million target is actual a sharp drop from BOE's plans at the end of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic - to ship over 70 million panels.