Article last updated on: Apr 12, 2021

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.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold photo

Foldable smartphones

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.

Huawei Mate X2 photo

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.



Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo

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:

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.

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!

Did Tianma develop its own polarizer-free foldable CFOT OLED architecture?

Tianma unveiled a new OLED display technology, which it refers to as CFOT OLED. This new foldable AMOLED display improves over the company's previous design with a lowered power consumption. The new displays are also thinner than before. The company demonstrated a 8.3-inch CFOT OLED:

Tianma CFOT foldable OLED prototype photo

We do not know much about this new technology. But from the performance boost and the CF part of the name, it is likely that this is a polarizer-free OLED that adopts color-filters instead to remove reflections.

Here come Samsung polarizer-free POL-LESS OLEDs

Samsung Display has been developing polarizer-free AMOLED displays for many years, and last year UBI detailed how the company plans to use color filters to eliminate the need for polarizers and so increase the efficiency of their OLED panels while also lowering the thickness.

Samsung Display POL-LESS AMOLED structure image

DSCC posted an interested article that details Samsung's upcoming polarizer-free OLEDs, which it brands as POL-LESS OLEDs. The first OLEDs to adopt this new structure are expected to be adopted in Samsung's Galaxy Fold 3 later this year.

UBI says UTG will hold a 80% market share in the foldable OLED cover material market

UBI Research estimates that Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG) will hold a 80% market share in the foldable OLED panel cover material market. The rest of the market will adopt Polyimide films.

UTG vs PI, foldable cover material forecast (2021-2025, UBI Research)

According to UBI, Samsung Display will only use UTG in its future foldable OLED displays. Transparent Polyimide films will be used in budget models, or for displays larger than 10" in size. BOE and CSoT currently use Polyimide films in foldable OLEDs, but both companies are looking to adopt UTG in future displays.

Android Authority are really impressed with the foldable Huawie Mate X2

Last month Huawei started shipping its second-generation foldable smartphone, the Mate X2, and the first review, from Android Authority is in. And the reviewer really likes the device - saying it may even be better than Samsung's own foldable smartphones.

Huawei Mate X2 photo

The inner-folding 8-inch 90Hz 2480 x 2200 AMOLED is said to be beautiful, and it is completely flat when open - with a really minimal bezel that can barely be seen. According to the reviewer, that's a huge improvement over all other foldables they used. The phones feels very solid, in fact, and the hinge seems much more durable than before.

UBI: The OLED market grew only 0.7% in 2020, details revenue by company

UBI Research says that shipments of OLED displays reached 577.88 million in 2020, up 3.7% from 2019. Total OLED revenues in 2020 increased only 0.7% to $32.68 billion as average panel price was lower in 2020 (mostly in the smartphone market).

OLED revenue by company (2011-2020, UBI)

The main growth in the OLED industry in 2020 came from smartwatches and TVs markets. Smartphone and tablet display shipments actually decreased in 2020. In 2020, new market emerged - automotive displays, laptop displays and foldable devices.

DSCC sees a large spike in foldable OLED shipments towards the end of 2021

DSCC says that foldable smartphone shipments will rise sharply starting in August 2021 - and total foldable OLED smartphone shipments in Q4 2021 will be higher than the whole period from Q1 2020 to Q2 2021 - combined.

Foldable OLED shipments (Q1 2020 to Q4 2021 estimate, DSCC)

There are several reasons for this high increase in projected shipments. First of all, Samsung is expected to release several new foldable smartphones in Q3 2021 - three models in fact, including an "aggressively priced" clamshell foldable.

Lenovo starts shipping the foldable 13.3" ThinkPad X1 Fold - and first reviews are in

Lenovo started shipping the $2,499 foldable ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop, and the first review is in. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is a Windows 10 Pro laptop that features a 13.3" 2048x1536 foldable OLED display (produced by LG Display). The X1 Fold features an Intel Core i5 chipset and a wireless keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo

T3 posted a review of this ground breaking device. The verdict in short? Very cool foldable display, it is a clever device - but the performance is not stellar and the display isn't bright enough.

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