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:
Last week Samsung Display showed its latest flexible OLED prototypes, with some impressive new displays. We'll start with the OLED Cling Band, a sort of wrist smartwach that wraps around your hand.
Samsung also showed a 17.3" foldable laptop display, a rollable and foldable device (Rollable Flex) that is 12.4" when fully opened, tri-folded displays and more. These are not new displays, but it is clear that Samsung is pushing forward with its flexible display technology to new designs.
Interesting rumors from China suggest that Huawei is planning to release the industry's first smartphone that sports a tri-foldable OLED. When fully open, the device will sport a 10" display, which means it will double as a full tablet and a smartphone. Huawei's plan is to release it in the first half of 2024.
Samsung tri-folding AMOLED prototype
The rumors continue to suggest that Samsung Electronics noticed Huawei's plan, and the Korean smartphone maker may decide to be the first on the market with a novel device, launching its own tri-folding phone - or perhaps even the first rollable phone.
DSCC estimates that foldable smartphone shipments reached 7 million units in Q3 2023, up 16% from last year and 215% from last quarter, as Samsung successfully launched the ` and Z Fold 5 phones, and other smartphone brands from China also ramped up their foldable smartphone sales.
Samsung's market share in the smartphone market was 72%, followed by Huawei (9%) and Honor (8%). DSCC expects foldable smartphone sales to fall 35% in the next quarter (but rise 47% compared to last year) on lower Samsung shipments and delays in new product announcements. In 2023, DSCC sees foldable smartphone shipments to reach 15.8 million units in total.
DSCC says that OLED smartphone shipments will total 585 million units in 2023, a 0.3% decline from 2023 in terms of shipments. Revenues will total $29 billion, a 11% decline from 2023. The soft demand for smartphones is due to a slow Chinese market, high inventories in the first half of 2023 and the global macroeconomic environment.
For flexible OLEDs, DSCC expects a 14% growth in 2023 (shipments) and a 9% decline in revenues - as average sale price has dropped 20%. The industry saw aggressive price cuts by Chinese phone makers - to the point where a flexible OLED made in China is cheaper than a rigid OLED made in Korea (by SDC). The market share of flexible OLED smartphones will reach 75% in 2023 out of the total OLED smartphone market.
LG Display announced that it has started to mass produce 17" 2560x1920 foldable OLED laptop displays. LGD applied a tandem stack architecture, to increase the lifetime of the OLED displays, to make it suitable for the demands of laptop use.
It is likely that the recently announced HP Spectre Foldable PC uses LG's new panels.
UBI Research forecasts that in 2025, shipments of smartphone OLED panels produced in China (regular and foldable) will surpass the shipments of panels made in Korea. UBI says that the growth of Chinese OLED makers will be driven by the large domestic market, government support, lower-cost production and improvement in production quality.
UBI estimates that Korean OLED makers will retain their quality lead over Chinese companies, and will be able to generate higher revenues, even with lower shipments - but in 2028, the revenues of China-based OLED makers will also surpass Korea's OLED revenues.
LG Display is demonstrating its new 30" and 77" transparent OLED displays for the first time, at the company's booth at K-Display 2023, in Seoul, Korea.
Credit: LG Display
The new 30" transparent OLED offers HD resolution, while the 77" panel offers 4K resolution. All of LG's latest transparent OLED displays offer 45% transparency. LG showed its entire range of T-OLED displays in a coffee shop setting, in partnership with Starbucks.
In 2021, TCL's CSoT started producing foldable OLED panels, and the OLED Marketplace now lists the first such panel, a 8.01" 60Hz 2480x1860 AMOLED smartphone display, with an embedded touch panel.
If you are interested in this display for your device or new project, contact us now, or check out more information over at the OLED Marketplace. It is available in sample quantities, and in large volume orders.
Samsung announced several new devices today, all utilizing AMOLED displays. We'll start with the two new foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Z Flip5. The Fold5 offers a foldable 7.6" 120Hz 1812x2176 foldable AMOLED display, and a 6.2" 120Hz 904x2316 cover AMOLED. The phone has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, 12 GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage and a triple camera setup.
Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip5 smartphone offers a foldable 6.7" 120Hz 1080x2640 foldable AMOLED display, and a small 3.4" 720x748 cover Super AMOLED display. The phone has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, 8 GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage and a dual camera setup.
Honor started selling it Magic V2 foldable smartphone 10 days ago, and according to online retailer JD.com, the phone was the 2nd most popular premium smartphones during the week (Apples iPhone 14 Pro is the most popular phone).
The Magic V2 model sold at JD.com costs 9,999 Yuan (around $1,400 USD). It seems as this is the first foldable that reaches high popularity in China, said to be mostly because of its thin profile and low weight (compared to other foldables). The phone is also sold at other Chinese outlets and can be ordered internationally through Aliexpress.