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:

Samsung announces the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4 foldable phones, and new wearables

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.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 photo

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.

Asus to launch its Zenbook 17 Fold OLED laptop on August 31

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 Zenbook 17 Fold OLED launch banner

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 expects to increase its foldable smartphone sales

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.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

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.

Future-Prove Your Display Production - Laser Solutions for Flat Panel Displays

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

TCL shows a 17" foldable inkjet-printed IGZO AMOLED prototype

TCL's CSoT demonstrated a new prototype AMOLED display - a 17" IGZO foldable panel, that was produced using inkjet printing. The company says this kind of panel can be used in tablets, monitors and laptops.

TCL 17'' IGZO flexible inkjet-printed OLED prototype (ICDT 2022)

CSoT is progressing with its inkjet printing technology, and aims to start production in 2023. Last year the company demonstrated a 65" 8K inkjet-printed OLED TV panel, in addition to a 14" rollable panel.

AP Systems developed an inkjet printing system for OLED OCR deposition

Korea-based OLED equipment maker AP Systems (APS) announced that it developed a new system to deposit optically transparent resin (OCR) using an inkjet printing process.

Current OLED production uses an adhesive tape (OCA) to connect the cover glass to the display. But OCA is time-consuming and relatively expensive. OCR, on the other hand, is deposited directly on the panel and is more cost effective. We recently reported that Samsung Display aims to adopt OCR technology in its foldable OLEDs to reduce costs, and is testing inkjet systems made by STI.

Samsung Display to reduce its foldable OLED panel cost by using OCR adhesive technology

The Elec reports that Samsung Display is currently using a transparent tape (OCA) to attach the OLED panel to the cover glass, in its foldable OLED production process. The company has decided to switch to liquid transparent adhesive (OCR) in order to reduce production costs.

Samsung Electronics foldable smartphones (2021 photo)

The cover glass lamination is performed at Samsung's module factory, in Vietnam. The company will make the necessary investments in the plant to enable it to use OCR technology.

DSCC: foldable smartphone shipments to increase 107% in 2022

DSCC says that 2.22 million foldable smartphones shipped in Q1 2022, up 571% from the first quarter of 2021. In Q4 2021, however, 4.2 million units shipped (a 47% decrease).

Foldable OLED shipments and production (DSCC, 2020-2022)

DSCC estimates that a total of 16 million foldable OLED phones will ship in 2022, a 107% increase compared to 2021. In terms of OLED panels, over 20 million will be produced and shipped in 2022.

BOE demonstrates new OLED displays at SID Displayweek 2022, including a 95" 8K OLED TV

BOE demonstrated its latest OLED technologies and displays at SID Displayweek 2022. The most interesting display is a 95-inch 8K HDR OLED display, produced on an Oxide-TFT panel with a white-OLED CF structure. The panel was produced using an evaporation method.

This is the first time we hear of BOE's evaporation TV program, since around 2016. The company has an active inkjet printing OLED TV project, and in December 2019 it unveiled a 55" 8K (160 PPI) printed OLED TV prototype.

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