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 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.
The first display you can see in the video is a 49-inch wide (32:9) 3840x1080 240Hz AMOLED gaming monitor display, that features a brightness of 150 nits (500 nits peak) and a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut.
At SID Displayweek 2020, BOE demonstrated an OLED automotive taillight module, developed in collaboration with "automotive makers" which BOE did not detail.
The red OLED taillights from BOE offer up to 2,000 nits in brightness and a lifetime of over 20,000 hours. The panels are less than 0.3 mm thick and will operate in a wide temperature range (-40 to 95 Celsius).
During SID Displayweek 2020, BOE demonstrated its 12.3" Full-HD rollable OLED prototype screen:
BOE now details that the display has a rolling radius of 5 mm, and it can roll 4 cycles. BOE says that device can survive over 100,000 bending cycles.
BOE unveiled a new QD-OLED prototype at SID Displayweek 2020. This new panel is 13.6" in size with a FHD resolution. It supports up to 120 nits and achieves a 100% NTSC color gamut.
This is the first time we hear of BOE's QD-OLED project, this will be interesting to follow.
In December 2019 BOE unveiled a 55" 8K (160 PPI) OLED TV prototype produced by inkjet printing. The panel achieves a maximum brightness of 400 nits and a color gamut of 95% DCI-P3.
At SID Displayweek 2020, the company demonstrated this display and gave more details regarding its production process and display structure.
According to a report from Korea, BOE will start producing AMOLED displays with on-cell touch, and ship the first such panels to Huawei to be used in its Mate 40 flagship smartphone. The Mate 40 is expected by October 2020, and BOE will start producing these panels soon.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro
BOE is not the only OLED maker to supply to Huawei's Mate 40 series - Korea's Samsung and LG Display will also ship similar panels to Huawei, some of these will use on-cell touch and some will use add-on touch panels, this depends on the Mate 40 model.
UBI Research reports that OLED makers are aiming to adopt color filters instead of polarizers in foldable OLED displays. The polarizer help prevent internal reflections by external light, but they lower the brightness and limit the flexibility of the panel.
Using color filters instead of the polarizer may enable brighter panels and also thinner ones which are more flexible. BOE has already demonstrated such a panel back in 2017 (scheme shown above) - and they said it is 23% brighter than a polarizer OLED, and it is also 110 um thinner. Samsung Display is also developing similar technology.
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.