OLED is an emerging display technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs, and the next generation of these panels will be flexible and bendable.

Different kinds of flexibility

When we talk about flexible OLEDs, it's important to understand what that means exactly. A flexible OLED is based on a flexible substrate which can be either plastic, metal or flexible glass. The plastic and metal panels will be light, thin and very durable - in fact they will be virtually shatter-proof.

The first range of devices that use flexible OLED displays are not really flexible from the user perspective. The device maker bends the displays, or curves it - but the final user is not able to actually bend the device. Besides the beautiful designs, a flexible OLED has several advantages especially in mobile devices - the displays are lighter, thinner and more durable compared to glass based displays.

Second generation flexible OLED devices may indeed be flexible to the final user. Finally, when the technology is ready, we may see OLED panels that you can fold, bend or stretch. This may create all sorts of exciting designs that will enable large displays to be placed in a mobile device and only be opened when required.



Flexible OLED products

In October 2013, following many years of development and prototype demonstrations, both Samsung and LG Display finally started producing flexible AMOLED displays on plastic (polyimide) substrates. Both Korean companies are now mass producing such displays, which are being used in mobile phones and wearable devices - such as the Galaxy S7 Edge (shown below), the LG G Flex 2 and Apple's Watch.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge at MWC photo

Samsung Display is currently producing flexible OLEDs in two production lines, the 5.5-Gen A2 and the and the newer A3 6-Gen A3. Samsung is producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs per month - to satisfy demand for its mobile phones and wearables - and Samsung is working on expanding its capacity as demand soars and as Apple ordered around 100 million flexible OLED panels for its future iPhones.

LG Display currently produces plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, and is investing $900 million to build new production lines as it also aims to become a major flexible AMOLED producer.

Flexible OLED lighting

OLEDs can also be used to make white lighting panels. OLED is a diffuse area lighting source with unique characteristics. While OLED lighting is still in its infancy, many believe that flexible OLED lighting panels may provide designers with a new lighting source that will create stunning designs. Currently there are two companies that produce flexible OLED lighting - LG Display who is also constructing the world's first Gen-5 OLED lighting mass production line and Konica Minolta who's also developing an amibitious flexible OLED lighting fab.

Flexible OLEDs Market Report

If you want to fully understand the flexible OLED display and lighting markets, check out our Flexible OLED Market Report. This comprehensive report explains:

  • Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
  • What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
  • What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
  • How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products

The report package also provides a complete list of flexible OLED developers and makers and their current (and future) products, and a lot more. Read more here!

Latest Flexible OLED news

OLEDWorks flexible OLED lighting panels, now branded as Wave, are now commercially available

In march 2019 OLEDWorks launched its first flexible OLED panels, branded as BendOLEDs. The company now announced that the panels are now commercially available - and rebranded as LumiCurve Wave, which is the first panel in OLEDWorks LumiCurve product family.

OLEDWorks Lumicurve Wave photo

The LumiCurve Wave is produced on Corning's 0.1mm thin Willow Glass flexible glass substrate. OLEDWorks says taht the Wave panels are extremely thin and light and deliver the superb light quality and excellent color rendering that is uniquely achievable with OLED.

Researchers use printed red and near-infrared PLEDs to create a flexible blood oxygen sensor

Researchers from the University of California Berkley developed a new flexible and lightweight blood oxygen sensor that can map oxygen levels over large area. The sensor uses an array of red and near-infrared OLEDs, together with organic photo-diodes, printed on a flexible substrate.

Red and infrared flexible OLED-based blood oxygen sensor (UCB)

The research was supported by Cambridge Display Technology, which means that these red and near-infrared printed OLEDs use polymer emitters (PLEDs).

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

Samsung unveiled its upcoming foldable smartphone, with a 7.3" fold-in AMOLED

As expected, Samsung unveiled its upcoming foldable smartphone yesterday. The rumors were correct, and Samsung's first foldable device will have two screens - a large 7.3" foldable AMOLED that folds inside, and a smaller OLED that is used when the phone is closed. Samsung brands the display as the Samsung Infinity Flex Display.

Samsung Galaxy X prototype photo

The inner foldable display is a 7.3" AMOLED with a resolution of 1532x2152. The outer display is a 4.5" 840x1960 AMOLED. The whole device seems to be quite thick and about double the depth compared to a standard smartphone.

Will Samsung reveal its first foldable device today?

Samsung's annual US developer conference is starting today, and rumors suggest that the company will unveil its first foldable device (the Galaxy F?) during the event. Samsung Mobile's Facebook page profile image was changed today to the one you see below - which surely suggests something foldable:

Samsung Mobile Galaxy F teaser profile image

Hopefully we'll know more soon. For a few months now we hear that Samsung foldable device launch will take place in November, and according to the latest estimates the device will sport a 7.3" OLED display that folds inside. The device will also sport an external, smaller AMOLED.

CLSA: BOE plans to produce 3 million AMOLED panels in the second half of 2018

BOE is ramping up its AMOLED production, and according to CLSA its target for the second half of 2018 is to produce 3 million panels. BOE is reportedly the supplier of AMOLED panels to Huawei's Mate 20 Pro smartphone, but CLSA says that the company is struggling to find customers from other smartphone makers.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

According to CINNO, BOE produced around 1.7 million panels in the first half of 2018 - which means that it plans to almost double its shipments in the second half of the year.

Royole launches a foldable smartphone/tablet developer device

US and China based Royole launched the world's first foldable OLED device - the FlexPai phone/tablet. The FlexPai has a 7.8" 1920x1440 (308 PPI) AMOLED display, when unfolded, The display folds outwards, and when folded the device has three different displays (front, back and spine).

Royole FlexPai developer device photo

Royole is now accepting pre-orders for the "Developer Mode" device, starting at $1318 for the 128GB model. The first devices will ship in late December 2018. The company said the device has passed bending, twisting and tension tests over 200,000 times, and the display is much more durable compared to current displays (as it is not covered by glass).

Samsung reports higher sales of flexible OLEDs in Q3 2018

Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q3 2018, with a 5.5% increase in revenues (to KRW 65.46 trillion) and 20.9% increase in quarterly operating profits.

Samsung Display fared "unfavorable supply-demand conditions in the LCD market" - but total revenues improved from last year thanks for higher sales of flexible OLED panels. Earnings significantly grew from Q2 2018 due to increased utilization of flexible OLED panel capacity. Samsung expects OLED demand to remain strong in Q4 2018.

Continental wants to wrap an automobile's A-Pillar with flexible OLEDs to combat blind spots

Automotive suppliers Continental unveiled a concept technology that could minimize blind-spots in automobiles. The idea is to wrap a flexible OLED around the car's A-pillar, and then use an external camera combined with head-tracking in-car camera to feed the external view on the A-Pillar display.

Continental flexible OLED on an automotive A-Pillar photo

This seems to be a smart idea if performed well that solves a real issue - Continental says that a typical A-pillar can obscure more than 3 feet's worth of area at a distance of 12 feet from the vehicle - and the blind spot grows as the distance does. CNet notes, however, that Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover previewed and patented similar technologies in the past.

Samsung is developing laptops with foldable displays

Lee Min-Cheol, Samsung Electronic's PC Marketing VP says that Samsung is collaborating with "display makers" (Samsung Display? or an error in the quote?) to develop OLED laptops with foldable displays. Samsung says that it aims to bring "new value and user experience" and not just create a laptop and can simply fold in and out.

Samsung will hopefully release its first foldable smartphone device by the end of 2018 or in early 2019, but apparently the company is already thinking about other form factors. Earlier this month a report from Korea suggested that LG Display is collaborating with Lenovo to develop a 13" foldable tablet, with aims to start panel production in H2 2019.

China's first flexible semiconductor industry base project release, has the exclusive technology

The following is a sponsored post by Shaanxi Kuntech Semiconductor Technology

The press conference for the landing and launching of Shaanxi Kuntech Flexible Semiconductor Service Manufacturing Base Project was grandly held in West Fengxi New City, West Xian Xin New District, Shaanxi province on the morning of October 16, with its theme being "Shinning Shaanxi and Shaping the Future World".

Kuntech flexible AMOLED prototype photo

A number of Chinese government leaders, partners from home and abroad, as well as the media attended the event, where the duo direction foldable AMOLED display with internal and external folds developed by the R&D team was also displayed.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters