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:
UBI Research estimates that Samsung Display shipped 124.76 million smartphone AMOLED panels in Q3 2021, an increase of 24.6% from the previous quarter, enjoying high demand from Apple for its iPhone 13 series.
SDC produced and shipped 62.63 million rigid panels (or about 50% of its total shipments), for low-end and mid-tier smartphones. Flexible OLED shipments were 58.2 million units (out of which 39.31 million went to Apple), and foldable OLEDs shipments reached 3.93 million units.
LG Chem developed a PET-based foldable OLED cover film, says it is more durable than Polyimide and UTG
LG Chem announced that it has developed a new PET-based foldable OLED cover film. LGC says its new film is thinner and more durable than both polyimide films and Ultra-Thin Glass, currently used in foldable OLEDs.
LG Chem designed new materials, which are coated on both sides of the PET film to strengthen its heat resistance and mechanical properties. The company says the new film withstands over 200,000 folding cycles.
At the iMID 2021 conference in Korea, Samsung Display demonstrated a speaker that uses a 12.4" folding-out AMOLED display:
The AI-powered speaker device connects to your phone and can unfold to show a larger image.
Samsung Display announced its latest OLED panel, the Eco²OLED, which increase light output by 33% compared to SDC's previous OLED panels. The increase light translates into a power consumption reduction of up to 25%.
For the Eco²OLED panel, Samsung finally managed to commercialize a polarizer-free OLED, after many years of R&D. The first phone to adopt this display will be Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Fold 3. Interestingly Samsung says that the new design also enabled it to incorporate a high-quality under-the-display camera as more light is entered through the OLED.
Samsung announced several new OLED devices, including its two new foldable smartphones. First up is the Galaxy Z Fold3, which features a 7.6-inch 1768x2208 120Hz 1200 nits foldable Dynamic AMOLED X2 display, and a 6.2-inch 120Hz 832x2268 external AMOLED display. The foldable phone sports Samsung's first under-the-display selfie camera.
Samsung says that the new Galaxy Fold has an improved hinge design and is more durable compared to previous generation devices. The second phone is the Galaxy Flip3, which features a 6.7-inch 120Hz 1200 nits 1080x2640 foldable Dynamic AMOLED display, and an external 1.9" 260x512 Super AMOLED display.
Flexible OLED producer Royole announced a new development kit, called the Royole RoKit, an open platform for designers to develop products based on flexible electronics. The RoKit is now shipping in the US, Europe, Japan and China.
The RoKit includes a 7.8" 1440x1920 60Hz flexible OLED display with touch input (Cicada Wing foldable OLED), Royole's fully-flexible sensor module, an Android 10 motherboard that includes HDMI to MIPI, Wi-Fi, USB and more and more accessories.
Last year DSCC estimated that the foldable OLED market will grow to 94 million panels by 2025. DSCC now updated its forecasts, and lowered its estimates to 75.6 million units in 2025.
DSCC sees Apple starting to adopt foldable OLEDs in 2023, which will boost the total market and will lead to other companies adopting foldable displays. DSCC expects foldable and rollable panels to grow at an 87.5% CAGR from 2020 to 2025. Smartphones will dominate with a market share of over 92% during the entire forecast period.
DSCC posted an interesting blog post in which the company shares its information on Samsung's upcoming foldable smartphones.
First up is the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (which is a bit strange as there's no Galaxy Z Flip 2). This new phone will feature an Ultra Thin Glass cover - which for the first time will not be exclusively produced by SCHOTT. This time Corning will supply some of the UTG for Samsung. According to DSCC, Corning’s UTG will be processed by Korean supplier eCONY. This is interesting - a while back it was reported that Samsung Electronics halted its UTG project with Corning.
Samsung Display is unveiling new OLED technologies today at SID Displayweek 2021. The video below shows all the new displays:
First up we have a tri-foldable AMOLED display shown with a smartphone prototype. The display can be folded twice inside and outside, and when fully open the display is 7.2-inch in size.
Kolon Industries says that the company is supplying colorless polyimide (CPI) films to Xiaomi - used as cover windows for Xiaomi's latest Mi Mix Fold smartphone. Xiaomi sold over 40,000 such smartphones within one minute, and the company hopes to ship around 500,000 units in total.
Kolon says it is the only company that produces such CPI films, and the company says it also supplied films for Huawei's Mate X, Motorola's Razr and Lenovo's Thinkpad X1 foldable laptop - and will also supply to Oppo and Vivo for their own foldable devices.