Foldable OLED displays can be bent by the user. These innovative displays enable new form factors, such as - such as phones that open into tablets, smart bands that open into smartphones and laptops with large displays. In 2019 the first foldable smartphones were launched, and after a rocky start, device markers are now introducing new devices to market as analysts expect increased adoption in the future.
In 2019 Samsung finally introduced the first device, the Galaxy Fold - which had a problematic launch. Since then Samsung followed up with several new foldable phones, for example the Galaxy Z Fold 2 which sports an internal foldable display at 7.6" 1768x2208 HDR10+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED and also a larger 6.23" 816x2260 Super AMOLED cover display. Samsung also launched the clamshell-style Galaxy Z Flip.
Several companies offer foldable phones besides Samsung, including Motorola, Huawei and others. Huawei for example launched the Mate X2 in 2021, which features an inside-folding AMOLED display, a 8-inch 90Hz 2480 x 2200 one. There is also an external 6.45-inch 1160 x 2700 90Hz (240Hz touch sampling rate) AMOLED display.
Foldable OLED laptops
Foldable OLED laptops is another promising market segment. In 2021 Lenovo started shipping the $2,499 foldable ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop, with its 13.3" 2048x1536 foldable OLED display (produced by LG Display). Hopefully more companies will follow suit and we'll see more such devices on the market soon.
The foldable OLED industry & market
If you want to learn more about the foldable OLED technology, industry and market, 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
- Foldable OLED plans and forecasts
- 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!
The latest foldable OLED news:
LG Display has an impressive presence at CES 2023, showing many OLED displays, products and prototypes.
The video above starts with LG's automotive displays, which include new 18" slidable OLEDs and some more OLED and LCD displays.
As was reported two days ago, Samsung is showing a new AMOLED display at CES 2023, that is both foldable and rollable.
The so-called Flex Hybrid OLED opens up from 8-inch when closed, to 10.5" when opened - and 12.4" when fully rolled up.
According to a report from Korea, Samsung Display will unveil a new display at CES 2023, which is both foldable and slidable. The display is 8-inch in size when folded, opens up to a 10" display when unfolded, and then can be slided further to 12.4".
The display will be shown in a private booth, which will not be open to the public. It is likely that this display is still at an early stage of development, as there are many challenges such as durability and quality that Samsung will need to overcome. The report suggests, though, that Samsung is ready to soon commercialize such a panel.
The Elec reports that Samsung Electronics is set to launch a foldable OLED laptop next year, using a 17.3" AMOLED display produced by Samsung Display. HP is also gearing up to release its first foldabl OLED, with a 17-inch display produced by LG Display.
Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED
Foldable OLED laptops are exciting, but current prices are very high, and so demand is low. The Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED for example, which uses a 17.3-inch display made by BOE, costs $3,500 - a very high price for a laptop. It is reported that Asus only ordered 10,000 displays from BOE as it understand it cannot ship many units at this price, and HP also not planning for many sales of their own first-gen foldable laptops, and have ordered a similar number of displays.
UBI Research says that according to its latest information and forecasts, shipments of Samsung's rigid smartphone AMOLED displays declined to 19 million units in Q3 2022, a drop of over 50% compared to last year. Rigid smartphone OLED display sales will continue to decline at an annual rate of 12.9% and will reach only only 96 million units in 2027.
Flexible OLED sales will continue to increase at a rate of 7.4% from 2022 to 2027. In 2027, Samsung Display will ship 220 million flexible OLED displays, while BOE will ship 140 million OLEDs.
According to reports from Korea, Apple is designing a new foldable MacBook laptop, that will adopt a large 20.25 foldable OLED display. Apple is collaborating with Samsung or LG Display on this project, the report does not detail that.
The reports also suggest that Apple is looking into smaller foldable display - including a foldable iPhone and a foldable iPad Mini (10-inch when open) - but these projects aren't confirmed yet.
Samsung announced two new foldable phones, and new wearable devices. First up is the Galaxy Z Fold4 which sports a 7.6" foldable 120Hz 1200 nits 1812x2176 Dynamic AMOLED and a 6.2" 120Hz 904x2316 AMOLED 2X cover display.
The Galaxy Z Flip4, the company's clamshell device,features a 6.7-inch 120Hz 1200nits 1080x2640 foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and a small secondary 1.9" 260x512 Super AMOLED display. Both phones will ship on August 25, starting at $2,000 for the Fold4 and $1200 for the Flip4.
In January 2022, Asus announced its first foldable laptop, the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED. The innovative device offers a 17.3" 2560x1920 foldable OLED display (supplied by BOE) that can fold in half to become a 12.5-inch device with dual 1920x1280 displays.
ASUS now announced that it will officially launched the foldable laptop before the IFA 2022 trade show on August 31. Asus announce da virtual event on August 31 (14:00 CEST). This will be an interesting event to watch.
Samsung Electronics says that it expects its sales of foldable OLED devices to increase, and even exceed its annual historic Note series sales (which is now discontinued). The company is set to start offering foldable displays in mainstream devices.
According to IDC, Samsung shipped around 190 million Note devices in total. So far, Samsung sold just over 10 million foldable phones, since launching the original Galaxy Fold in 2019. But if we look at specific phones, the gap is not so big: The last Note device, the Note 20, sold around 12 million units. The Note 10 sold around 14 million units. According to estimates, Samsung shipped around 8 million Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3.
This is a sponsored post by Coherent
Lasers are utilized for numerous processes in flexible OLED production, just as they are in the manufacture of other display technologies. In fact, it can be reasonably claimed that lasers are a key enabling technology in the fabrication of modern, flat panel displays. And it’s likely that they will continue to perform essential fabrication steps as flexible and foldable displays become more commonplace.
There is a variety of processes within the flexible display production line where lasers have an essential contribution to enable high throughput, high yield mass production. Nowadays, the complexity of the displays is getting larger and the number and tasks of lasers within flexible OLED production is increasing.
For this reason, choosing the right laser really means choosing the right laser supplier. Manufacturers need a partner who has the specific technical and applications development resources to identify the best and most cost-effective solution. Coherent is that partner