Rollable OLED displays are exciting - as these displays can enable new device form factors - such as TVs that roll up into a small cylinder or a tablet-sized device that can roll-up into a pen.
Rollable OLED TVs
In early 2019, LG launched the world's first rollable OLED device - a TV that rolls into its base. The 65" Signature OLED TV R has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. This is a radical new TV form factor which carries an extremely high price. Hopefully prices will be reduced as the technology matures.
Rollable mobile devices
While LG is leading the race to rollable OLED TVs, many display makers are developing smaller rollable OLED displays for mobile devices. Commercial adoption hasn't started yet, but it is likely that we will see the first rollable OLED smartphone in the market by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
The latest rollable OLED news:
Chinese smartphone producer TCL unveiled an interesting new smartphone prototype (concept?) called the Fold ‘n’ Roll.
As you can see in the video, the device has a 6.87-inch OLED display when fully folded. It can open up (out-folding) into a 8.85-inch display, and then it can open even further to a 10-inch tablet-like device using a rolling mechanism. The display itself is produced by TCL's CSoT subsidiary.
As LG Electronics is launching its 65" rollable TV (65RX OLED) globally, market researchers from Omdia estimate that shipments of rollable TVs will be around 3,000 next year. The market will grow to 74,000 units in 2024 and 672,000 units in 2027.
This is fast growth, but numbers will still be very limited, it seems as Omdia does not expect mass market adoption for rollable TVs.
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A few days ago we reported that LG Electronics is getting ready to launch its 65" rollable OLED TV, the 65RX OLED TV globally. And now the rollable TV is available to pre-order in the UK. The price is £99,999 - or around $137,000. This is higher than the price is Korea, which is around $87,000. If LG manages to find customers, it will ship the TV form Korea.
LG started shipping the TV in Korea in October 2020. Last month it was reported that LG sold only 10 units.
According to reports from Korea, LG Electronics is getting ready to launch its 65" rollable OLED TV, the 65RX OLED TV globally. It appears as if LG will focus most of its marking online and ship the TV from Korea.
LG started shipping the TV in Korea in October 2020. Last month it was reported that LG sold only 10 units. At around $88,000 its not surprising that LG cannot find many buyers, but it now hopes to find a larger market outside of Korea.
DSCC says that foldable smartphone shipments will rise sharply starting in August 2021 - and total foldable OLED smartphone shipments in Q4 2021 will be higher than the whole period from Q1 2020 to Q2 2021 - combined.
There are several reasons for this high increase in projected shipments. First of all, Samsung is expected to release several new foldable smartphones in Q3 2021 - three models in fact, including an "aggressively priced" clamshell foldable.
In October 2020 LG Electronics started shipping the world's first rollable OLED TV, the 65" 65RX OLED TV. The price is set at KRW 100 million (USD 87,000). That price was actually cheaper than expected - but according to a report from Korea LGE managed to sell only 10 such TVs.
According to the report, it's not just the high price that is keeping consumers away - the TV, which is based on rollable glass, is not very durable.
Last month we learned that LG Electronics is considering the future of its Smartphone business - which means LG could end up selling, closing or downsizing its mobile unit.
LG is developing a rollable smartphone, which was reportedly going to ship in early 2021. The future of this exciting rollable OLED device is not clear. Yesterday a report in Korea's Yonhap News suggested that the project is cancelled, although LG Electronics later denied this report and says that the company did not make any decision on 'future phone products' - which of course doesn't mean the project could indeed be cancelled or put on hold in the future.
Samsung Display confirmed that the company is developing rollable OLED displays, and that it will start mass producing such displays later in 2021. It is likely that the first customer for these displays will be Samsung Electronics.
Samsung has been developing rollable OLED technologies for many years, the demonstration above is from 2016. And of course it makes sense for Samsung to release these displays this year as other companies are already ahead of it - LG Electronics is set to release its first rollable smartphone in 2021 using BOE panels, and TCL/CSoT also recently demonstrated rollable OLEDs.
According to a report from the Korea Herald, LG Electronics is considering the future of its Smartphone business, and the company's CEO sent a message to staff that says that several options are being considered, including the sale, withdrawal and downsizing the smartphone business.
LG Electronics has lost around $4.5 billion in its smartphone business over the past five years, as competition, especially from China, is strong. In Q3 2020 LG Electronics shipped 6.5 million phones, down from 7.2 million in Q3 2019. LG's global smartphone market share is around 2%.