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:
LG's CEO, Kwon Bong-seok, announced that LG aims to be the first company to introduce a rollable OLED smartphone - as early as the beginning of 2021.
According to reports LG has already started working on prototype devices. Interestingly, according to the report the supplier of the rollable panel is BOE, and not LG Display.
DSCC updated its capacity and demand outlook for the OLED industry. DSCC says that the oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs will continue to effect the industry for years ahead.
According to DSCC the reason for the oversupply is Samsung's near-monopoly on flexible OLED phone panels - and the fact that the company keeps prices high and prefers high profit margins even though it leads to low utilization rates. DSCC sees China's capacity (which includes LG's Gunagzhou fab) share to rise from 5% in 2017 to 30% in 2020 and finally to 49% in 2025.
In March 2017 OLED maker BOE Technology and OLED microdisplay maker OLiGHTEK announced a new joint-venture to produce OLED microdisplays for the consumer VR and AR markets. In September 2019 BOE started shipping a 0.39" Full-HD (1920x1080, 5644 PPI) one, and the company now started shipping a larger 0.71" Full-HD panel as well.
We are happy to report that this new high-quality display is already listed at the OLED Marketplace, and we have access to this display at a relatively low cost. Contact us if you are interested in this display. We also list BOE's 0.39" FHD panel.
DSCC posted an update to their OLED (and LCD) fab capacity and utilization rate estimations. DSCC thought that Samsung's rigid OLED lines will remain in high utilization (almost 90%) in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic lowered demand for OLEDs, and Q2 saw a sharp reduction in production of both flexible and rigid OLEDs. Looking into the rest of 2020, DSCC expects demand for OLED to rise.
DSCC also sees flexible OLED capacity almost overtaking LTPS LCD capacity by the end of 2020. Both flexible and rigid OLED capacity is increasing, while LCD production is reduced (in 2019 JDI shutdown its Hakusan LCD plant which reduced LTPS LCD capacity by 7%).
Earlier this year, reports from Korea suggested that Samsung Electronics is looking to order some OLED panels from China's BOE - including for its flagship S21 smartphone to be announced later this year.
A new report from Korea's DDaily suggests that BOE failed to pass Samsung's display quality test. Samsung Electronics is likely to retain Samsung Display (partly owned by SE) as an exclusive AMOLED supplier for its 2020-2021 smartphones.
In early 2019, nreal unveiled its AR glasses that provide high quality 52-degree FOV images in a relatively small and normal-looking frame that weighs just 85 grams. The prototypes shown at CES used Sony's FHD 0.7" OLED microdisplays (ECX335AF-7), but according to reports the commercial units will use BOE's OLED microdisplays (probably sized 0.71").
This a good design win for BOE, who started shipping its OLED microdisplays towards the end of 2019. nreal's AR glasses will ship in Q3 2020 for $499.
DSCC says that OLED revenues in Q1 2020 were $6.7 billion (up 24% from Q1 2019, but down 18% from Q4 2019). Both Samsung and BOE gained market share in the quarter, as LGD had a weak quarter.
DSCC sees the entire OLED market reaching $33 billion in 2020 (up 18% from 2019). Smartphone OLED sales will reach $26.6 billion, mostly led by a growth in flexible OLED sales. The OLED TV market will grow 19% to 4 million units in 2020. DSCC sees the laptop OLED market increasing significantly in 2020.
The Elec reports that Apple ordered around 55 million AMOLED panels for its iPhone 12 smartphone series, which will be announced later this year. LG Display will supply around around 20 million AMOLEDs - which is a big increase from the 5 million OLEDs LGD supplied for Apple's previous generation phones.
According to The Elec, LG will supply the panels for Apple's iPhone 12 Max (6.1"), while Samsung will supply all the panels for the iPhone 12 (5.4"), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1") and iPhone 12 Pro max (6.7").
DSCC posted an interesting blog post, in which they detail what they believe to be Apple's iPhone 12 smartphone family specifications.
So we start with the iPhone 12, which will use a 5.42" 2348x1048 (476 PPI) flexible AMOLED display, produced by Samsung Display. DSCC believes the iPhone 12 will use a Y-OCTA integrated touch. DSCC believes that while BOE did not manage to get its panel to the iPhone 12, it may become a supplier in 2021 to the iPhone 12s - if all goes well with the iPhone 12 Max (see below).
Korea-based OLED equipment maker Sunic System announced it has received a $22.6 million order for OLED deposition equipment from BOE. The tools will be used to deposit OLED microdisplays.
BOE is currently producing OLED microdisplays at its $170 million fab in Yunnan - the world's largest OLED microdisplay fab constructed in collaboration with OLiGHTEK. In December 2018 BOE announced its second, and larger, OLED microdisplay fab in Yunnan, which will cost a total of $486 million. It is likely that this new order is aimed for BOE's 2nd fab. Sunic says it will deliver the systems by November 2020.