Article last updated on: Sep 03, 2018

China-based BOE display is one of the leading display producers in the world, and the company has been developing OLED technologies for many years.

BOE has been producing small glass-based OLEDs for some time, but the company's focus is currently in flexible and foldable OLEDs. In October 2017 BOE started to produce flexible OLED displays at its first flexible OLED line, the Chengdu B7 6-Gen fab. The annual capacity of the B7 line, when complete and at 100% yields, will be 45,000 monthly 6-Gen substrates, or about 90 million smartphone OLEDs

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

In addition to the B7 fab in Chengdu, in October 2016 BOE announced another 6-Gen OLED fab, in Mianyang, with a similar capacity. In March 2018, BOE announced plans for a third 6-Gen OLED fab, this one in Chongqing.

BOE's latest OLED prototypes and panels

In May 2018 BOE demonstrated its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs at SID 2018. BOE's foldable prototype was a 6.2" WQHD (1440x3008, 538 PPI) panel that features a fold-radius of 1R and include a touch layer. BOE also demonstrated a foldable tablet (which they call a Phonblet, I am not sure if this term will catch), which includes a larger 7.56" foldable OLED. This panel features a resolution of 2048x1535 (338 PPI).

BOE also demonstrated ultra-thin (0.03 mm) flexible OLEDs, large 12.3" FHD (167 PPI) automotive-grade OLEDs, and its first ink-jet printed OLED and a new 0.39" FHD OLED microdisplay.



The latest OLED news from BOE:

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.

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.

OLED Automotive Market Report

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.

ETNews: BOE and OLiGHTEK to start trial OLED microdisplay production in early 2019

In March 2017 OLED maker BOE Technology and OLED Microdisplay maker OLiGHTEK announced a new $170 million joint-venture to produce OLED microdisplays for the consumer VR and AR markets.

Today we have a report from Korean ET News site that BOE is getting ready to start trial production in the new fab in early 2019. Kunming BOE Display Technology, the JV that was established by BOE and OLiGHTEK has began to order equipment for its new fab (including CVD, ALD, AOI and sputters)

CINNO Research details the mobile AMOLED market share by producers

Market analysts from CINNO Research estimate that Samsung Display produced 160.9 million AMOLED displays in H1 2018, which sets SDC's market share in the mobile AMOLED market at 93%. The two other large producers are LG Display and Visionox, both producing 3.5 million panels (2% market share).

AMOLED market share by produces (H1 2018, CINNO)

Both Everdisplay (EDO) and BOE produced 1.7 million panels in the first half of 2018 - or about 1% of the market each. AU Optronics and Tianma produced 0.7 million panels (0.4% market share) and Truly closes the list with a market share of 0.2% (400,000 panels).

CLSA: it is too soon to talk about an OLED recovery

DSCC recently said that SDC's OLED fab utilization is starting to improve as production starts for next-gen iPhones and Galaxy phones, and UBI Research also says that the market recovery is starting. CLSA, however, says that it is too soon to talk about OLED recovery.

CLSA agrees that SDC's fab utilization will rise from about 35% to 80% in the second half of 2018, but CLSA also believes that Samsung is not even considering the A4 fab (30,000 monthly substrates) which will remain idle, which means that actual utilization will be lower than stated.

ETNews: BOE to supply Huawei with foldable OLEDs, is working with three phone makers to develop foldable devices

Samsung is aiming to launch its first foldable OLED phone by the end of 2018 or early 2019, but two months ago it was reported in Korea that Huawei aims to beat Samsung and announce its first foldable phone in November 2018, using LGD's OLEDs.

A new report from ETNews now says that Huawei is actually working with China-based BOE Display, and not LGD. The first Huawei phone will have a 8" display and it will fold into a smartphone-sized device. This report makes more sense than the LGD report, as it seems that BOE's foldable OLED technology is more advanced than LGD's - and in fact last week the company unveiled a 7.56" 2048x1535 foldable OLED.

BOE demonstrate its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs at SID 2018

China-based BOE Display had an impressive booth at SID, where it displayed the company's latest displays. The company's flexible and foldable OLED prototypes and panels took center stage, as BOE is ramping up its flexible OLED production and is also developing its next generation technologies.

BOE's foldable prototype was a 6.2" WQHD (1440x3008, 538 PPI) panel that features a fold-radius of 1R and include a touch layer. The display has a super narrow border, and is 0.21 mm thick. BOE says that it can withstand over 100,000 bending cycles.

BOE unveils a 0.39" FHD OLED microdisplay at SID 2018

In March 2017 OLED maker BOE Technology and OLED Microdisplay maker OLiGHTEK announced a new $170 million joint-venture to produce OLED microdisplays for the consumer VR and AR markets. This will be the world's largest OLED-on-silicon production line that will have an annual production capacity of a million OLED microdisplays, although we have no details on to when it will begin operation.

At SID 2018, BOE quietly demonstrated a new OLED microdisplay - a 0.39" FHD (1920x1080, 5644 PPI) OLED on silicon, that supports a brightness of 3,500 nits and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. It's not clear how close is this display to commercialization, and whether it is part of the JV with OLiGHTEK.

BOE demonstrates its first inkjet-printed OLED prototype at SID 2018

China's largest display maker BOE Display has an active OLED ink-jet printing project, and according to reports the company is establishing an R&D production line (in Hefei) that uses Kateeva's inkjet deposition equipment.

At SID 2018, BOE demonstrated a printed OLED panel for the first time. Surprisingly this is a small mobile OLED display - a 5.5" FHD (400 PPI) flexible AMOLED. It is usually assumed that inkjet printing is limited to around 200 PPI, and so only useful to large area panels (such as TVs or monitors). JOLED's 21.6" 4K printed OLEDs have a PPI of 204, for example. In 2017 Korea-based Unijet's president said that Inkjet printing could reach up to 550 PPI in 2020 by using next-generation laser-droplet technologies.

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