Article last updated on: Aug 25, 2019

OLED is an emerging display technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs, and the next generation of these panels will be flexible and bendable.

Different kinds of flexibility

When we talk about flexible OLEDs, it's important to understand what that means exactly. A flexible OLED is based on a flexible substrate which can be either plastic, metal or flexible glass. The plastic and metal panels will be light, thin and very durable - in fact they will be virtually shatter-proof.

The first range of devices that use flexible OLED displays are not really flexible from the user perspective. The device maker bends the displays, or curves it - but the final user is not able to actually bend the device. These first-gen flexible OLEDs are adopted many premium smartphones, for example the Samsung edge-type Galaxy phones or Apple's iPhone X and Xs. Besides the beautiful designs, a flexible OLED has several advantages especially in mobile devices - the displays are lighter, thinner and more durable compared to glass based displays.

Second generation flexible OLED displays can be bent by the user - these can be used for example to create foldable smartphones - the first range of which are expected to hit the market by the end of 2019.



The latest flexible OLED news:

Royole announces new foldable OLED displays with much improved specifications

Chinese OLED developer Royole announced its next-generation (3rd-Gen) fully flexible OLED displays, which it refers to as "Cicada Wing". Royole says that these new displays deliver significant improvements over its previous generation displays. The new displays have a material stack of over 100 layers.

Cicada Wing displays, compared to Royole's 2nd-Gen flexible OLEDs, offer 5X higher contrast, 50% higher brightness, 20% faster response time and a better color shift. It also offers a low brightness decay (Royole says it is 3.5X better then competing foldable OLEDs).

We now list BOE's 5.99" 1080x2160 flexible smartphone AMOLED display at the OLED marketplace

We are happy to announce that we now list a new panel at the OLED Marketplace - a BOE 5.99" 1080x2160 flexible AMOLED display with a flexible touch panel.

This is a high-end smartphone display (but can be used for other applications as well) that is now in production (at BOE's B7 line in Chengdu). Check out more information over at the OLED Marketplace, or contact us now.

SDC expects demand for foldable OLEDs to soar, will increase production capacity to a million panels per month

Korean ETNews reports that Samsung is expecting higher demand for foldable OLED displays, and the company decided to increase its monthly production capacity from 260,000 units to around 600,000 by the end of May 2020, and over a million displays by the end of the year.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip photo

ETNews also reports that Samsung Electronics is planning to launch its third foldable smartphone later in 2020, and Chinese phone makers are also requesting foldable displays from SDC.

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.

Motorola starts shipping the foldable Razr 2019, initial reviews are here

Yesterday Motorola started shipping its $1,500 foldable OLED phone, the Razr 2019. The Razr 2019 features a 6.2" 2142x876 (21:9) foldable AMOLED display that folds inside, produced by BOE. There's also a regular external 2.7" 600x800 AMOLED used when the phone is closed.

Motorola Razr 2019 photo

Initial reviews are appearing online. Android Central's Nirave Gondhia tested one such phone, and he says that the Razr's screen feels fragile, even more so than the screen of his Galaxy Fold. While he likes how the device folds, he says that as the screen shifts along the hinge, the feedback on the screen feel strange and it feels as if the screen could be damaged by the folding over the long term.

Cadillac unveiled the 2021 Escalade with its 38-inch LGD P-OLED display

In December 2019 Cadillac announced that its 2021 Escalade will sport a 38-inch curved OLED display. Rumors suggested that LG is the producer of this display, and indeed Cadillac now unveiled the car and its next-generation display - and LG confirmed that this is indeed its P-OLED screen.

The displays, which will come standard on all 2021 Escalade versions, include an instrument cluster and infotainment systems, and enable several customizable displays which include AR navigation and night vision modes. There are actually three different displays - from left to right a 7" display, an 14" one and a 16.9" display. The center 14" is the instrument cluster and it is not-touch enabled (the other two do include touch).

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.

TCL and Juhua Printing showcase an inkjet-printed 31" FHD rollable hybrid QD-OLED TV prototype

TCL and Juhua Printing demonstrated a 31" FHD inkjet-printed rollable hybrid QD-OLED TV prototype. The display uses an IGZO (Oxide-TFT) backplane and TCL says that it has an aperture ratio of over 50%, brightness of 200 nits and a 90% DCI-P3 color gamut.

TCL's hybrid display technology (which TCL calls H-QLED) uses a blue OLED emitter coupled with red and green QD emitters. All three emitter materials are combined and printed using ink-jet printing technology.

Lenovo unveils a 13.3" foldable OLED laptop, to ship mid-2020

Lenovo unveiled the world's first foldable laptop - the ThinkPad X1 Fold. This is a Windows 10 Pro laptop that uses a 13.3" 2048x1536 foldable OLED display. The X1 Fold features an Intel chipset (unspecified yet) and a wireless keyboard. The battery life should be about 11 hours.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo

Lenovo says the ThinkPad X1 Fold will ship in mid-2020 starting at $2,499. Lenovo reveals that LG Display is the producer of the foldable display.