Nubia demonstrates its Alpha foldable device, will ship in April 2019

In September 2019 Nubia unveiled a smartband that turns into a smartphone - with a foldable OLED display. Nubia said it will launch its Alpha foldable smartband by the end of 2018. This did not happen, but at MWC 2019 the company demonstrated the device again - and announced a new release date and prices.

The Nubia Alpha will start shipping in April 2019 in the US and Europe - but only the Bluetooth variant. The cost will be around $500. Nubia will also release an eSIM device - which will cost $624 and will launch in Q3 2019.

Samsung announces the Galaxy S10 (with 4 variants) and new OLED smartwatches

Samsung announced a handful of new devices, all with OLED displays. We'll start with the company's 2019 flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10. It includes four different variants -

  • Galaxy S10 5G: 6.7" 3040x1440 flexible AMOLED
  • Galaxy S10+: 6.4" 3040x1440 flexible AMOLED
  • Galaxy S10: 6.1" 3040x1440 flexible AMOLED
  • Galaxy S10e: 5.8" 2280x1080 AMOLED (rigid?)

Samsung Galaxy S10 photo

The S10 phones use Samsung's latest AMOLEDs, that are now HDR10+ certified, include an under-the-OLED fingerprint sensor (Qualcomm ultra-sonic) and cut-outs for the selfie cameras. Samsung calls these displays "Dynamic AMOLED" (due to the HDR support, probably) and "Infinity-O Display" due to the camera cut-outs.

Fraunhofer FEP and EMDE to demonstrate textile embedded flexible OLED lighting

The Fraunhofer FEP institute has teamed up with OLED lighting developer EMDE development of light to demonstrate wearable OLED lighting based on flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs. The OLED demonstration will be unveiled at LOPEC 2019.

Textile embedded flexible OLED prototype (Fraunhofer,  EMDE, PI-SCALE) photoThis project is part of the EU-funded PI-SCALE project, which recently demonstrated 15 meters long flexible OLED lighting panels. The Fraunhofer FEP says that they have taken a major step forward for the economical fabrication of OLED lighting devices based on the roll to roll process.

DSCC: the OLED market will grow 19% in 2019 to reach $31 billion in revenues

DSCC estimates that the AMOLED market will grow 19% in 2019 to reach $31 billion, up from $26.5 billion in 2018. OLED revenues will continue to grow and reach $48.8 billion in 2022 (a CAGR of 16%).

OLED panel revenue by type, (2016-2022, DSCC)

Looking at OLED unit shipments and area production, 2019 will see a 22% growth in unit shipments to 610 million panels and a 35% growth in area to 9 million square meters. Area shipments will grow faster than revenues as OLED selling prices will continue to decline - and as OLED TVs take up a larger share of the OLED market.

Huawei launches four new AMOLED smartphones and wearables

Huawei launched several new devices yesterday, including four new AMOLED ones. The top of the line is the Mate 20 X, a large smartphone that features several high-end technologies - a 7.2" 1080x2244 (346 PPI) AMOLED display, a triple Leica cameras setup, a GoodixTech under-the-display fingerprint sensor, a 5000 mAh battery and a graphene thermal management film.

Huawei Mate 20 X photo
Huawei also launched the smaller Mate 20 Pro - another high-end smartphone that features a 6.39" 1440x3120 (538 PPI) AMOLED display (reportedly produced by BOE), an Octa-Core Kirin 980 (7 nm) chipet, 6GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, an NM card slot and a triple Leica optics camera setup. The Mate 20 Pro is the first smartphone to adopt Synaptics' complete display system solution - which includes Synaptics’ flexible chip-on-film (COF) ClearView display driver and the company's ClearPad touch controllers.

Several Apple Watch series 4 customers complain of a strong off-angle blue tint

Apple recently launched its latest smartwatch - the Watch Series 4. It seems that at least some customers are complaining about a strong blue off-angle blue tint on the new OLED display. Some of these customers say that the tint is stronger compared to previous generation Watch devices - and also stronger than the tint on the iPhone X and LG OLED TVs.

Apple Watch Series 4 photo

It's not clear whether this is a real issue or not at this stage - we only have heard of a few customers complaining so far. But this is interesting as Apple has adopted its new LTPO backplane technology in the Watch 4, which could be responsible for the stronger tint (Is this the beginning of LTPO-gate?). All previous Watch devices used flexible AMOLED displays made by LG Display. We do not know yet whether LGD is still the exclusive supplier, or whether Apple added Samsung Display as its second source (or even exclusive).

Who will win the foldable smartphone race?

In 2013, Samsung announced its YOUM flexible OLED brand, showing off several flexible OLED prototypes - including a foldable phone/tablet. Samsung never used the YOUM brand name again, but the foldable smartphone concept presented in 2013 (see image below) is still exciting consumers - and many of them are still waiting for Samsung to commercialize the technology.

Fast forward to 2015, and the first reports of Samsung's Project Valley started to surface. Samsung started to actually develop a foldable phone, with plans to release its first device in 2016. Samsung faced many challenges - and delays - in its foldable smartphone project (which was recently renamed to Project Winner) - including problems with the substrate and the software and user interface.

BOE to supply OLED displays for Samsung's Galaxy Watch?

According to reports from Korea, Samsung Electronics is in talks with BOE regarding a possible OLED supply agreement for Samsung's Galaxy Watch. BOE is working on samples as it aims to replace the 1.3" and 1.2" Galaxy Watch displays currently produced by Samsung Display.

Samsung Galaxy Watch photo

This is a rather surprising report - as Samsung Display is a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, and it has excess capacity in its OLED production fabs. It could be that Samsung Electronics is trying to put pressure on SDC to lower its prices, and of course this would be an excellent deal for BOE and a great endorsement for its OLEDs.