Article last updated on: Aug 25, 2019

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:

Xiaomi: we sold over 40,000 Mi Mix Fold smartphones within one minute

At the end of last month, Xiaomi introduced its first foldable OLED device, the Mi Mix Fold smartphone, with a main 8.01-inch HDR10+ 1860x2480 AMOLED display that folds inwardly, and an external 6.52-inch 90Hz HDR10+ 840x2520 AMOLED display.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold photo

The Mi Mix Fold is now shipping in China, starting at around $1,500. According to Xiaomi, it has sold around 40,000 units in the first minute - generating over $61 million in revenue for the smartphone maker.

OLED production will grow 94% in Q2 2021, as demand for OLED panels increases

DSCC says that OLED production will grow 94% in the Q2 2021, fueled by strong demand for OLED in smartphones, TVs and other devices - coupled with a recovery from the pandemic. Growth in OLED input area for small & medium displays is expected to grow 68%, while grow in OLED TV input area will grow by 134% over last year.

OLED and LCD production capacity (2019-2021, DSCC)

The chart above shows the total OLED (and mobile LCD) industry capacity. As you can see, flexible OLED capacity is growing - mainly from expansions by CSoT, Tianma and Visionox. There's also growth in rigid OLED capacity - from Everdisplay and JOLED.

TCL shows a smartphone concept that includes a rollable and foldable OLED display

Chinese smartphone producer TCL unveiled an interesting new smartphone prototype (concept?) called the Fold ‘n’ Roll.

As you can see in the video, the device has a 6.87-inch OLED display when fully folded. It can open up (out-folding) into a 8.85-inch display, and then it can open even further to a 10-inch tablet-like device using a rolling mechanism. The display itself is produced by TCL's CSoT subsidiary.

OLED-Info's OLED Market Reports updated to April 2021

Today we published new versions of our market reports - that cover the flexible, microdisplays and automotive 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 April 2021.

The OLED and MicroLED Microdisplays Market Report:

  • The advantages of OLED and MicroLED microdisplays
  • Information on all companies involved in this market
  • What kind of displays are available on the market today
  • Future technologies and roadmaps

The report package also provides a complete list of OLED and microLED microdisplays makers and their current (and future) products, and personal contact details into the leading microdisplays makers. Read more here!

BOE and Himax announce an electric vehicle design-win for a 12.8-inch flexible AMOLED

Himax Technologies, together with BOE Varitronix (automotive display product supplier) announced that they secured a design-win with a leading new electric vehicle maker.

The customer will soon launch a flagship automobile, which will sport a 12.8-inch flexible AMOLED center information display product. The new solution includes a flexible AMOLED display produced by BOE and a Himax AMOLED driver IC and timing controller system.

Mercedes unveils the interior cabin of its upcoing EQS EV, with its unique 56-inch flexible OLED display

A few months ago Mercedes announced that its upcoming EQS electric vehicle will adopt a large curved front display, 56-inch in size, called the MBUX Hyperscreen. Today the company unveiled the interior cabin of the EQS:

Mercedes EQS interior photo

The display is actually made from three different OLED units, embedded in a single glass display. There's a central 17.7-inch panel plus two 12.3-inch panels. The 56-inch glass also includes holes for the air-vents which are integrated into the display. The whole AI-enabled system is powered by 8 CPU cores and 24 GB of RAM.

Samsung Electronics to adopt flexible OLED panels produced by BOE

In 2020 it was reported that Samsung Electronics is set to use AMOLED displays produced by China's BOE in some of its smartphones. It was later reported that BOE failed to pass Samsung's quality tests.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

According to a new report from Korea, BOE finally managed to pass Samsung's tests and is set to start supplying flexible OLEDs that will be used in Samsung's budget Galaxy M series of smartphones.

DSCC sees a low utilization rate at flexible OLED lines in H1 2020, high utilization at rigid OLED lines

DSCC says that flexible OLED fab utilization has been low since the beginning of 2021, and this will remain so for the next quarter as well. Utilization at rigid OLED lines is higher. This has been the pattern in previous years - lower production in the first half of the year and higher volumes at the second half of the year.

OLED and LCD fab utilization rates (2019-2021 H1, DSCC)

LG's OLED TV fab utilization has been historically very high (and close to 100%) - until 2020 which have seen lower utilization due the ramp-up at the Guangzhou fab. But in 2021 LG has managed to increase its yields again.

Researchers develop PLED-emitting temporary tatoos

Researchers from the UK's UCL and Italy's IIT developed OLED-based smart temporary tatoos. Similar to children's "sticker" type tatoos, these small devices can be transferred to the skin by being pressed and washed with water.

OLED tatoos (UCL & IIT)

Such devices could in the future be used to short-term sensors (for example to detect when an athlete is dehydrated during an event) or in fruit packaging to signal when a product has passed its expiry date.

Researchers from Germany in collaboration with Oreltech use printed silver-inks as OLED electrode

Researchers from the Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy and the Physics Department of the Humboldt University Berlin, together with Oreltech, developed a new flexible OLED prototype that uses Oreltech's silver-inks to deposit electrodes on PET substrates.

Helmholtz Center - Humbolt Univeristy - Oreltech, silver-ink PET OLED device structure and process

The researchers report that the new device outperforms ITO-based devices in both efficiency and luminance - and they are offer better bending stability.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters