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

Wisechip and Kyulux to bring a flexible TADF/HF PMOLED to the market by the end of 2018

Kyulux and Wisechip unveiled a flexible PMOLED display that uses Kyulux’s Hyperfluoresence yellow emitter. Wisechip says that the power consumption of this display is almost half of Wisechip's regular fluorescent yellow PMOLED.

Wisechip 1.71'' flexible TADF/HF PMOLED (SID 2018)

The first flexible HF PMOLED is a 1.71″ 256x64 display, that is now ready to be produced (Wisechip says this will enter mass production before the end of 2018). Wisechip originally aimed to introduce its first glass-based HF yellow emitter PMOLED by the end of 2017, but it seems they decided to jump straight to a flexible panel.

The OLED Marketplace, find your OLED here

DSCC: 100 million OLED panels were shipped in Q1 2018, generating $5.8 billion in revenues

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says that in Q1 2018 OLED revenues dropped 33% compared to Q4 2017 (but grew 39% compared to Q1 2017) and amounted to $5.9 billion. DSCC says that OLED revenues will decline further in Q2 2018 but will recover in the second half of 2018. Full-year revenues are expected to reach $26.95 billion, while the market will reach $57.2 billion by 2022.

AMOLED revenue and growth (2016-2018, DSCC)

Samsung Electronics was the top OLED customer in the first quarter, and together with Apple (#2) the two companies consumer 79% of all OLED panels by revenue.

DSCC: SDC's OLED fab utilization starts to improve as production starts for next-gen iPhones and Galaxy phones

DSCC says that Samsung Display's OLED utilization has started to improve as it is starting to produce new OLED displays for new smartphones by Samsung, Apple and other makers.

SDC OLED fab utilization (Jan 2017 - June 2018, DSCC)

SDC's utilization rates started to improve in May 2018, with the rigid A2 OLED fab expected to exceed 80% in June. At 100% yields, the A2 can produce 175,000 monthly substrates. DSCC says that 5.5-inch to 6-inch rigid OLEDs cost will fall to $23 in Q3 2018, with the price premium over LTPS LCDs will be around $5. DSCC says that at such a small gap they expect demand for rigid OLEDs will remain strong.

Royole starts to produce flexible OLEDs at its Quasi-6-Gen fab in Shenzhen

China-based Royole announced that it started volume production in its Quasi-6-Gen (5.5-Gen, most likely flexible OLED production fab in Shenzhen. In full capacity (45,000 monthly substrate) and at high yields Royole will be able to produce about 50-million flexible smartphone panels in its new fab.

Royola 6-Gen OLED fab ceremony and prototypes photo

Royole says that it will be able to produce "full-flexible" (which means foldable and rollable) displays as it is producing the world's thinnest panels at 0.01 mm with a bending radius of 1 mm.

Tianma demonstrates its latest foldable, flexible and rigid AMOLEDs at SID 2018

Tianme had an large booth in SID, showcasing many display technologies and demonstrating its latest LCD and OLED panels. Tianma started producing rigid and flexible OLEDS in April 2017 at the company's 6-Gen fab in Wuhan, and at SID the company demonstrated its 5.5" on-cell rigid AMOLEDs now in production. Tianma told us that this display was adopted in smartphones by Lenovo and Asus.

Tianma also demonstrated several flexible OLEDs in many configurations which we will list below. Almost all of the panels were based on the same basic display - a flexible 5.99" WQHD 1440x2280 (537.5 PPI) AMOLED produced on a polyimide substrate. Tianma showed this panel in a regular design, and also in a notch-type design.

The EU launches Lyteus, a €14 million initiative to support PI-SCALE OLED lighting projects

In 2016 the EU launched the PI-SCALE project, which established a European-wide roll-to-roll flexible OLED lighting pilot production line, with an aim to enable companies of all sizes to quickly and cost effectively test and scale up their flexible OLED lighting concepts.

Now the EU has launched a €14 million initiative within PI-SCALE called LYTEUS, which provides the expertise and capability required to progress an OLED lighting concept from an idea and into a commercialized product. Lyteus helps companies with sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll prototyping of flexible OLEDs, technology transfer, device encapsulation and more. At launch Lyteus serves four customers: Audi, Rehau, Emde and Pilkington, to develop flexible OLED lighting products in the automotive, aeronautics and designer luminaires sectors.

Visionox demonstrates its latest PMOLED and AMOLED displays at SID 2018

China-based OLED producer Visionox had a very impressive booth at SID 2018, demonstrating the company's latest AMOLED and PMOLED displays and prototypes.

Visionox is now producing AMOLED displays for smartphones and wearables and the company showcased a wide range of AMOLED panels and also commercial phones that use these panels. Visionox also demonstrated many new display prototypes.

BOE demonstrate its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs at SID 2018

China-based BOE Display had an impressive booth at SID, where it displayed the company's latest displays. The company's flexible and foldable OLED prototypes and panels took center stage, as BOE is ramping up its flexible OLED production and is also developing its next generation technologies.

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. The display has a super narrow border, and is 0.21 mm thick. BOE says that it can withstand over 100,000 bending cycles.

Visionox starts producing flexible OLEDs at its 6-Gen fab in Hebei

China-based OLED producer Visionox announced that it started to produce flexible AMOLED displays at its new 6-Gen OLED fab, in Hebei Province. The new line has a monthly capacity of 30,000 substrates (although it is likely that it will take some time before the new fab runs at full capacity).

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

Visionox's first flexible OLED fab total investment is around $4.5 billion. Visionox is already producing rigid AMOLEd and PMOLED displays.