TCL shows a smartphone concept that includes a rollable and foldable OLED display

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.

TCL plans to start producing OLED TV panels by 2023, using an inkjet printing process

TCL said in a recent press conference that the company plans to start producing OLED TV panels in 2023. These OLED panels will be printed using an inkjet printing process.

TCL has been a long time believer in inkjet printing for OLED displays, and the company has established Juhua Printing in 2016 (together with Tianma and other collaborators) as an "open-innovation platform" to develop ink-jet printing of OLED panels. In 2020 TCL invested $187 million USD in Japan's inkjet printing developer and producer JOLED, and has also signed an agreement to jointly develop OLED TV printing technologies.

TCL brings perovskite-QDs enhanced LCDs to market, in a pilot project

TCL collaborated with perovskite QD film developer Zhijing Nanotech to produce 500 75-inch QD-enhanced LCD TVs with Zhijing's PQDF films. This is likely to be the world's first commercial adoption of pQD films in the display industry, as the TVs were sold successfully in China and Zhijing hopes to achieve a mass production design win with TCL in 2021

TCL 75M10 TV with Zhijing Nanotech's perovskite film photo
The company reports that the TVs featured a wide color gamut, 147% BT709 - which is higher than most QD TV's on the market, and higher than TCL's original 75M10 TVs. The green Cadmium-free pQD films have excellent optical properties and offer lower cost compared to current QD solutions, according to Zhijing Nanotech.

Will TCL launch its first printed OLED products at CES 2021 next week?

TCL has been involved with OLED inkjet printing technologies for many years, and the company''s chairman and founder Li Dongsheng yesterday posted that the company will reveal its first printed OLED products next week. Li also uploaded the following video that showcases the company's inkjet printing technology:

This is somewhat surprising as it may be too early for TCL to actually launch inkjet printed OLEDs. TCL has been a long time believer in inkjet printing for OLED displays, and the company has established Juhua Printing in 2016 (together with Tianma and other collaborators) as an "open-innovation platform" to develop ink-jet printing of OLED panels. Last year TCL invested $187 million USD in Japan's inkjet printing developer and producer JOLED, and has also signed an agreement to jointly develop OLED TV printing technologies.

TCL's CSoT shows new rollable OLED display prototypes

TCL's CSoT demonstrated some interesting new displays at the DTC 2020 conference a few days ago - including rollable OLEDs, foldable OLEDs, ink-jet printed rollable OLEDs and new microLED prototypes.

In the video above, you can first see the company's latest inkjet-printed rollable OLED, with a size of 17-inch. CSoT says that it managed to reduce the OLED thickness by removing the color filters it used in earlier designs, which improves the flexibility - as you can see this display rolls up very nicely.

TCL to invest $6.8 billion, plans to start producing inkjet-printed OLED TVs in Guangzhou in 2024

According to reports from China, TCL says its CSOT OLED inkjet printing project is going well, and the company expects to start mass production at its 8.5-Gen Guangzhou T8 (owned by Huaxing Optoelectronics) production line in 2024.

Earlier this year the Guanghzhou development commission issued a report that says CSOT's investment in this R&D and production project will amount to 46 billion yuan ($6.8 billion USD), and the construction of the actual production line will be in 2021-2023.

TCL invests $187 million in JOLED, to jointly-develop OLED TV inkjet printing technologies

JOLED announced that TCL CSoT has invested 20 billion Yen (around $187 million USD) in the company, and has also signed an agreement to jointly develop OLED TV printing technologies.

This is a very interesting development. TCL has been a long time believer in inkjet printing for OLED displays, and the company has established Juhua Printing in 2016 (together with TianMa and other collaborators) as an "open-innovation platform" to develop ink-jet printing of OLED panels. JOLED was not involved as far as we know in this alliance - so has TCL given up on Juhua and is now aiming to rely on JOLED's technology?

Is TCL developing an expanding-sliding OLED smartphone?

CNet reports that TCL was supposed to demonstrate a novel smartphone design next week (at the cancelled MWC event) that uses an "expandable" sliding OLED display. The idea is basically the same as in the first crop of foldable OLEDs - provide a phone that can open up to a tablet-size device:

 TCL concept sliding OLED smartphone - open image

Apparently TCL was supposed to show a working demonstration. Such a design will likely require a screen that is folded in two places or some sort of rollable display - which is possible but more difficult to actually commercialize compared to a screen that folds inwardly or outwardly in a single position.

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