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. These first-gen flexible OLEDs are adopted many premium smartphones, for example the Samsung edge-type Galaxy phones or Apple's iPhone X and Xs. 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 displays can be bent by the user - these can be used for example to create foldable smartphones - the first range of which are expected to hit the market by the end of 2019.
The latest flexible OLED news:
DSCC posted an interesting article detailing their estimates for the production costs and prices of choice flexible and foldable AMOLED displays, in China and in Korea.
We'll start with the chart above, which compares the prices and quotes of several flexible OLEDs produced by Samsung in Korea. DSCC says that as the profitability of Samsung's OLED business is highly dependent on fab utilization, it is currently losing money on this business as the yields in its flexible OLED lines are only 38% - and fixed costs such as personnel and depreciation cannot be decreased. Having said that, DSCC sees higher utilization in the next two quarters, which will result in profitability for SDC's OLED unit.
OLED-Info's foldable, flexible, VR/AR, transparent, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to July 2020
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 July 2020.
- Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
- What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
- All about the foldable OLED market and industry
- What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
- How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products
The report package provides a good introduction to the flexible and foldable OLED market - present and future. It details both flexible displays and lighting technologies. Read more here!
According to the OLED Association, Tianma is now delaying the phase 2 of this fab, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally Tianma aimed to start production in Q1 or Q2 2020, but this will not be delayed to Q3 2020. The 2nd phase adds a capacity 15,000 monthly 6-Gen substrates (in addition to the 15,000 substrates already in production).
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%).
Samsung Display is updating its A3 flexible OLED production line, to support two new technologies. The TFT process is being updated, for some of the capacity, to Apple's LTPO technology. LTPO is currently used in Apple's Watch displays, but next-generation iPhones will adopt it as well.
According to UBI, Samsung will dedicate 75,000 monthly substrates to produce smartphone LTPO displays. According to some reports, Samsung has also developed its own backplane technology which is similar to LTPO, it could be that some of this capacity will be used for Samsung's own displays.
Germany-based OLED lighting developer Inuru announced that it has completed its Series-A funding round. Inuru raised €2.3 Million, led by Warsaw based venture capital fund ARIA.
Inuru aims to use the funds to accelerate the production of affordable active packaging and labeling products. Inuru uses flexible OLED lighting devices to develop "luminous label and packaging solutions".
In 2019, it was reported that Samsung Electronics is in early talks with China's CSoT for flexible OLED supply for low-end and mid-tier smartphones. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung Electronics has decided to adopt a CSoT flexible OLED panel for its upcoming budget Galaxy M41 smartphone.
If true, this is the first time that Samsung Electronics will adopt an OLED that wasn't produced by Samsung Display. The M41 will use a 6.67-inch 1080x2340 AMOLED, the same panel used in Xiaomi's Mi 10 and Motorola's Edge.
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.
CLSA says that Samsung Display saw a decline in demand for OLED panels in Q1 2020, and its flexible OLED fab utilization rate dropped to 40%.
In April demand from Chinese smartphone maker recovered and CLSA expects meaningful growth in OLED smartphone demand with Samsung's utilization rates exceeding 90% in Q3.
Researchers from Seoul National University developed a flexible green OLED device that uses 2D titanium carbide MXene as a flexible and transparent electrode. The display achieved an efficiency of 100 cd/A, comparable to ITO-based devices, while showing good bending stability.
The researchers say that the MXene electrodes are much more flexible than ITO electrodes and this material could hold the key towards highly flexible transparent conductive display electrodes.