It is expected that next year, there will be a smartphone that can be launched into a tablet, and further reinvigorate the increasingly mature mobile phone market. SAMSUNG DISPLAY has announced that its collapsible screen has passed the US security test, indicating that the rumored concept prototype may be about to become a reality.
Over the years, engineers have been working on a variety of flexible or even scrollable display versions to create new markets for new mobile devices.
Smartphones with foldable OLED displays can be expanded to 7 to 8 inches of screen size and provide ultra high definition (UHD) resolution at 120Hz. Y.J. Kim, CEO of OLED display driver manufacturer MAGNACHIP, said it must also withstand at least 100,000 on/off cycles at a cost as low as $2,000.
Kim said that if a $1,800 smartphone can also double as a tablet, “I am willing to pay for it.” But he said he is not sure if any commercial products are currently under development.
Kim and others believe that Samsung and LG are the most likely display manufacturers to commercialize foldable screens. They are likely to use this foldable screen for their own mobile phone products and build their own driver ICs.
Over the years, these Korean companies and companies such as Microsoft (the Surface Division) have been demonstrating prototypes of new display products (but often not disclosed under a confidentiality agreement) to inspire enthusiasm for the prototype. Recently, according to Nikkei‘s report, Huawei (HUAWEI) is expected to use China‘s BOE‘s flexible screen to launch a foldable mobile phone before Samsung. However, BOE may only supply such a small amount of display.
Last year, ZTE launched a foldable phone that combines two displays. However, the device’s initial commentary shows that the foldable phone is still in its early adopter period, and the market appeal does not seem too big.
Wayne Lam, chief mobile analyst at IHS Markit, said, “With the advent of 5G, we expect to see some results in 2019, and its cost will increase. Therefore, if the industry has made progress on the size of mobile phones, Why not continue to invest in new breakthroughs?” He said, for example, a small foldable display that doubles as a smartphone.
Kim said that even a high-end mobile phone and tablet, even a $1,800 mobile phone tablet is more cost-effective. In addition, Samsung has been demonstrating smart (not glass)-packaged smartphone displays that are expected to be used to create thinner, more powerful phones that make them a market shock.
Whether foldable or plastic-packaged OLEDs can bring a new mobile phone market, smartphone makers clearly need to find new growth engines.
According to Gartner‘s market research report, smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 fell for the first time. IDC‘s report pointed out that smartphone sales in 2017 only experienced a slight decline, but it is expected to grow at a rate of 2.4% in the next five years.