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

Visionox announces plans to build a 2nd 6-Gen flexible OLED line in Hebei

China-based OLED producer Visionox announced plans to establish its 2nd flexible OLED production line in Hebei. The new line will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 1500x1850 mm substrates (6-Gen), similar to the company's first line in Hebei.

Visionox 6-Gen flexible AMOLED fab (Hebei, China)

The construction of the new line will take 25 months - so mass production will not begin before the end of 2020. Total investment in the new production line will be $6.3 billion, out of which $3.15 billion will be raised with debt and the rest by equity - by Visionox and the Hefei Municipal People's Government.

OLED-Info's flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to July 2018

Today we published new versions of our market reports - that cover the flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, automotive, PMOLED and graphene OLED markets. OLED-Info provides comprehensive niche OLED market reports, and our reports cover everything you need to know about the niche market, and can be useful if you want to understand how the OLED industry works and what this technology can provide for your own industry. The reports are now updated to October 2018.

The OLED for VR/AR Market Report:

  • Why OLEDs are adopted in almost all VR HMDs
  • What kind of displays are required for VR and AR applications
  • What the future holds for the VR and AR markets
  • Current and future VR and AR systems

The report package provides a great introduction to the emerging VR and AR market, and details the role that OLED displays will have. Read more here!

The OLED Marketplace, find your OLED here

Who will win the foldable smartphone race?

In 2013, Samsung announced its YOUM flexible OLED brand, showing off several flexible OLED prototypes - including a foldable phone/tablet. Samsung never used the YOUM brand name again, but the foldable smartphone concept presented in 2013 (see image below) is still exciting consumers - and many of them are still waiting for Samsung to commercialize the technology.

Fast forward to 2015, and the first reports of Samsung's Project Valley started to surface. Samsung started to actually develop a foldable phone, with plans to release its first device in 2016. Samsung faced many challenges - and delays - in its foldable smartphone project (which was recently renamed to Project Winner) - including problems with the substrate and the software and user interface.

DSCC lowers its OLED revenue forecast for 2019-2022, sees the market at $50 billion in 2022

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) updated its AMOLED market forecast, and the company now expects revenues to grow from $26 billion in 2018 to $50 billion in 2022.

OLED market revenue & growth (2016-2022, DSCC)

DSCC sees fast growth for the OLED market, driven by flexible and foldable displays - and the flexible OLED market will grow at a 32% CAGR from 2018 to 2022. Only a few months ago, though, DSCC estimated that revenues in 2022 will reach $57.2 billion by 2022.

Visionox demonstrates foldable OLEDs, is the supplier for Nubia's upcoming Alpha foldable device

Earlier this month, Nubia demonstrated a smartband that turns into a smartphone - with a foldable OLED display. We assumed that Nubia is using an OLED produced by either BOE or SDC, but it turns out that the producer is China-based Visionox.

A couple of days ago, at the 2018 China Display Technology Conference, Visionox demonstrated some of its latest foldable panels, and announced that the Nubia is using the company's panel. According to our information, the Nubia uses a 3.23" AMOLED display (when open) - and the device will indeed start shipping in China soon (before the end of 2018).

Video shows Royole's latest flexible, foldable and automotive OLEDs

Earlier this month, Royole demonstrated its latest technologies at IFA 2018 - including flexible and foldable AMOLED panels, a large automotive display and a phone/bracelet device made from a foldable OLED. The interesting video below shows these new Royole displays.

Royole's flexible OLED displays are produced at the company's "quasi-G6" (5.5-Gen) OLED production fab in Shenzhen which started production in June 2018. In full capacity, Royole's fab will be able to produce over 50 million flexible OLEDs per year (45,000 monthly substrates).

HML researchers designed a roll-up tablet with a wrapped rollable OLED

A team at Queen's University Human Media Lab in Canada developed a new concept device called MagicScroll that features a rollable display wrapped around a cylinder that can be rolled to scroll the information. The display can also be rolled up to act like a regular tablet.

The display used in this demonstration is a 7.6" 2K rollable OLED. This is actually a tiled display made from two 5.5" FHD OLEDs taken from two LG Flex 2 smartphones (thank you Andrew M. Abrams from SCMR for clarifying this!).

Nubia demonstrates a foldable smart watch/phone, says it will ship by the end of 2018

Update: It turns out that the display used by Nubia is produced by Visionox and not BOE as we assumed

China-based Nubia unveiled a new smart wearable device called the Nubia Alpha, which uses an elongated foldable OLED display. Nubia says that this device will ship in China by the end of 2018.

If Nubia actually ships its Alpha device before the end of 2018, it may become the first company to ship a foldable OLED smartphone. Samsung is gearing up to start foldable OLED production in 2018 but its first foldable smartphone is likely to ship in early 2019. Huawei is also said to get ready to release a foldable phone before the end of 2018 - using displays made by BOE. In fact BOE is reportedly developing foldable OLEDs for several smartphone makers - which means that it's likely that the Nubia Alpha is using a BOE display.

Royole demonstrates its latest flexible AMOLED displays

China-based Royole demonstrated its latest technologies at IFA 2018 - including the company's flexible AMOLEDs integrated into a top hat and a jacket and the company's Moon OLED HMD and its RoWrite E Ink writing pad.

Royole's flexible OLED displays are produced at the company's "quasi-G6" (5.5-Gen) OLED production fab in Shenzhen which started production in June 2018. In full capacity, Royole's fab will be able to produce over 50 million flexible OLEDs per year (45,000 monthly substrates).

Samsung may resume OLED production at its A4 line in October following new smartphone OLED orders

Due to lower demand for flexible (due to several reasons, see here) in late 2017 and early 2018, Samsung's utilization rates at its flexible OLEDs fab were quite low, and its A4 production line was pretty much unused for the time.

But demand for mobile OLED displays is now on the rise, and a report from Korea now suggests that SDC aims to resume flexible OLED production in its A4 line in October 2018 - as the company secured new ordered for smartphone OLEDs from Chinese phone makers.