SDC: our ultra-thin glass is more durable than polyimide for foldable OLEDs

Earlier this month Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Flip, its 2nd foldable smartphone - and the 6.7" 1080x2636 inward foldable HDR "Dynamic AMOLED" display uses a flexible glass cover, as opposed to SDC's previous foldable OLEDs that used a flexible polyimide cover.

Samsung UTG logo

Samsung now says that it is branding its ultra-thin-glass foldable OLEDs as Samsung UTG. I'm not sure what to say regarding Samsung's slogan "Tough, yet Tender" which seems to be taken out of a completely different industry.

DisplayMate: Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra OLED is an impressive display - the best ever mobile display

Samsung recently announced its latest flagship phone series, the Galaxy S20. Our display measurement friends from DisplayMate tested the new display - and unsurprisingly it turns out that the new Samsung Display AMOLED displays are very impressive - and they earn DisplayMate's highest ever display performance grade.

Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup

DisplayMate tested the Galaxy S20 Ultra, with its 6.9" 1440x3200 (511 PPI), 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED display. The display has "close to text book perfect" calibration accuracy and its performance is visually indistinguishable from perfect. The new Samsung OLED display is setting or matching 12 smartphone display performance records.

Samsung launches its second foldable OLED phone, the Galaxy Z Flip

Yesterday Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Flip, its 2nd foldable smartphone, features a 6.7" 1080x2636 inward foldable HDR "Dynamic AMOLED" display. The external display is a small 1.1" 112x300 Super AMOLED. The Galaxy Z Flip will ship on February 14th, starting at $1,380 in the US.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip photo

Besides the new form factor, the Z Flip uses an ultra-thin glass cover - unlike the Galaxy Fold which used a plastic one. At least according to The Verge, this makes for a big improvement - it feels better, can't easily be "marked-up" by a fingernail and there's no visible crease. The Z Flip also feels much more refined - with no creaking and with a solid-feeling hinge.

Will Samsung's next foldable phone use ultra-thin flexible glass?

Samsung is working on its next foldable phone, which according to leaks will be called the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. According to XDA's Max Weinbach, the new phone will be use ultra-thin flexible glass, instead of polyimide.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 - leaked photo December 2019

In November 2019 Samsung indeed signed an exclusive deal with Korea's Dowoo Insys to supply ultra-thin glass (UTG) for future foldable OLED devices. Samsung is aiming to switch to glass as its current foldable OLEDs which are protected by a plastic cover are highly prone for scratching and are very fragile.

IHS - 57 million smartwatch displays shipped in Q3 2019

IHS says that smartwatch display shipments continue to rise, and reached 57 million units in Q3 2019. IHS expects total shipments in 2019 will reach 195 million units - up 31% from 2018 (149 million units).

Smartwatch display market by producer (Q3 2019, IHS)

IHS also revealed the breakdown by display maker. The leading producer by far is BOE Display, followed by LG Display (who produced all of Apple's OLED wearable displays in Q3 2019, but this is now changing) and then Truly.

OnePlus says its next phone to feature a 120Hz SDC AMOLED display

In May 2019 OnePlus launched the OnePlus 7 Pro - a flagship smartphone that features a large 6.67" 90Hz 1440x3120 Fluid AMOLED - a 90Hz Super AMOLED (produced by Samsung Display).

OnePlus 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display promo

OnePlus now officially announced that its next phone (the OnePlus 8) will feature a high-end AMOLED, developed in collaboration with Samsung, that will feature a refresh rate of 120Hz, a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, 10-bit color support and a 2K+ resolution. OnePlus again brands its Super AMOLED displays as Fluid Display. The touch sample rate will be 240Hz and the phone will include a hardware MEMC smooth-video accelerator.

Huawei's next flagship phone, the Mate 30 Pro, to sport flexible OLEDs made by Samsung and LG

Huawei's Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro smartphones, released in September 2019, sported AMOLED displays made by Samsung Display (rigid 6.62" 1080x2340) and BOE (flexible 6.53" 1176x2400, the Mate 30 Pro).

Huawei Mate 30 photo

According to a report from Korea, Huawei will soon launch its next flagship phones, the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro - and the flexible OLEDs used in the Mate 40 Pro will be supplied by Samsung and LG Display (50% split). This is an interesting achievement by the Korean OLED makers and likely quite a blow for BOE. Apparently BOE could not match Huawei's requirement for this curved OLED display.

DSCC updates its 2019-2025 OLED market forecasts

DSCC updated their display industry forecasts, saying that as LCD prices continue to fall it revises the capacity forecast downward by 6% as Display makers are delaying and cancelling LCD investments. DSCC's OLED capacity forecast is also reduced by 4% - and is now growing at a CAGR of 19% from 2016 to 2025 (the main reason is the cancellation of Visionox V2 phase 2 and LGD's E6 Phase 3).

OLED capacity by country (2016-2025, DSCC)

DSCC says that OLED TV roadmap is still not clear as Chinese makers are not ready to commit to OLED TV production. DSCC does see next-generation TV capacity coming online in the future - which could be inkjet-printed OLEDs, OVJP, MicroLEDs and other potential technologies. But the next-generation display market is certainly not clear yet and DSCC sees an extended forecast during which demand will outpace supply (especially as average TV size continues to grow).

Counterpoint: 600 million OLED smartphone displays to ship in 2020

Counterpoint Research estimates that OLED smartphone sales will reach 600 million units next year, as phone makers adopt OLED displays in more mid-range and low-end devices.

OLED smartphone penetration by company (2020, Counterpoint)

Counterpoint says that OLED penetration in Samsung devices will surge from 45% in 2019 to 71% in 2020. Both Apple and Oppo will use OLED displays in 50% of their phones next year.

Is Samsung delaying its $10.8 billion QD-OLED investment plans?

In October 2019 Samsung Display formally announced its decision to invest $10.85 billion in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines. SDC was supposed to start the plan in 2019, but according to a report from China the Company is delaying its initial investment. Originally mass production was supposed to begin in Q1 2021, but this may happen later if the investment is delayed.
Samsung Display production hub, Tangjeong, South Chungcheong Province

It seems as if equipment makers expected to receive orders for production equipment, but that did not happen. The report says that Samsung decided to make personnel changes and transfer in January 2020 and only after these changes will the company finalize its investment plan in the new OLED TV fab.

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