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:
Samsung Display unveils new OLED displays at SID Displayweek 2022. First up is the Flex G flexible display, which folds inwards twice, and the Flex S, that can fold both inwards and outwards.
Samsung is also new rollable displays - a 6.7" slidable display that can expand and a larger 12.4" slidable OLED that can expand from both ends. When close, the display is 8.1" in size.
LG Display has unveiled a new foldable OLED panel, that can fold 360-degrees - both inwards and outwards. The panel is 8.03" in size with a resolution of 2480x2200, and has been tested for over 200,000 folding cycles. LGD says it developed a special folding structure to minimize creasing.
OLED driver IC developer MagnaChip started shipping OLED display drivers in 2007, and the company announced yesterday that it has shipped over 730 million units since.
MagnaChip recently expanded its business area into new markets such as foldable smartphones, automotive displays and OLED TVs. The company expects the OLED DDIC market to grow rapidly in the next new years and quotes Omdia's estimate of 1.2 billion OLED panels shipped in 2028.
Visionox announced plans to build a new flexible and foldable OLED module production line, in Hefei. Total investment in the new project will amount to 11 billion Yuan (around $1.6 billion USD), and Visionox will receive financial assistance from the local government.
Visionox started trial production at its M4 flexible OLED module factory in Guangzhou in late 2020. The company's 2nd OLED line is located in Hefei and is already mass producing panels.
Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q1 2022. Revenues hit a new record of 77.78 trillion Won ($61.2 billion USD) and the operating profit was 14.12 trillion Won ($11 billion USD).
Samsung Display's revenues were 7.97 trillion Won ($6.3 billion USD) with an operating profit of 1.09 trillion Won ($900 million USD). Samsung says its mobile display earnings improved from 2021, led by strong demand for OLED smartphone displays and growing adoption of OLED displays in laptops and gaming devices.
Smart pen developer Anoto Group announced that it has been commissioned to develop a digital screen pen for Samsung Display's foldable OLED screens for mobile phones, tablets and PCs. SDC will pay Anoto for the pen development (which will be finalized by the end of 2022) and will also pay royalties to Anoto as SDC will produce the pen itself.
Anoto explains that established screen pen solutions cannot be used with foldable OLED displays due to their thinness and size. Anoto says that its proprietary dot pattern technology and pen are uniquely suitable for foldable displays.
According to reports in Korea, HP has decided to launch a foldable OLED laptop by the end of the year. HP will source 17-inch 4K in-folding OLED panels from LG Display.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The Elec suggests that LGD will start mass producing the 17-inch panels in Q3, with plans to produce around 10,000 units.
UBI Research estimates that shipments of small-sizes (under 10-inch) AMOLED displays reached 746 million in 2021, up 34.4% from 2020 (555 million units). UBI says the market was driven by increased Apple iPhone sales and increased adoption of foldable OLED panels.
In terms of revenues, the market increased by 43.9% from $26.5 billion in 2020 to $38.1 billion in 2021.
DSCC estimates that just over 10 million foldable OLED displays shipped in 2022, and the market is set to grow to 86 million units by 2026 (54% CAGR).
DSCC says that foldable smartphone revenues rose 342% in 2021, and have reached $5.8 billion. The most popular foldable smartphone was the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (51% market share in 2021), followed by the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (26% market share) and the Huawei Mate X2 (6% market share).
BOE demonstrated new foldable OLED prototypes, which it calls the f-OLED N-shaped folding display. The new displays by BOE can be folded both inwardly and outwardly, which allows BOE to present a unique form factor:
BOE's new display is 12.3" in size, and when full folded (two folds) it turns into a 5.6-inch form-factor device. BOE developed a novel hinge system that allows for sliding compensation which improves the strength of the display module. BOE tested the new display for up to 200,000 inward folding cycles and 100,000 outward folding cycles.