Fold, extend… Foldable IT device trends seen through exhibition trends
As panel makers have recently accelerated the development of foldable OLEDs, a variety of products, including foldable phones, foldable tablet PCs, and foldable laptops, are being exhibited. We look at the development trend based on the exhibited products of panel makers.
At CES 2023, which was held in January, Samsung Display, a leader in foldable displays, exhibited the ‘Flex Hybrid’, a combination of foldable and slider, and the ‘Slidable Flex Solo’, which extends on one side and, the ‘Slidable Flex Duo’, which extends on both sides. In the ‘Flex Hybrid’, the screen expands from the default 8 inches to 10.5 inches when the folded screen is unfolded, and to 12.4 inches when the right side is extended. Sliderable products can expand the screen from the basic 13 to 14 inches to 17 inches.
Prior to this, Samsung Display had exhibited S-type and G-type, double-folding ‘Flex S’ and ‘Flex G’, and ‘Slidable Wide’ that extends outward in 2022, and all three products had a maximum size of 12.4 inches. The size of the prototypes is 12.4 inches, which is the same as Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Tab S8+. When mass-producing actual products, it is expected that mass-production will be carried out according to the needs of set makers.
In addition to tablet PCs, foldable laptops are also being developed. Samsung Display exhibited the 17.3-inch foldable OLED ‘Flex Note’ for laptops at IMID 2022 and SID 2022. Originally, Samsung Display was expected to supply this 17.3-inch foldable OLED to Samsung Electronics last year, but the schedule was delayed to this year.
LG Display is also developing a foldable OLED for 17.3-inch laptops. LG Display exhibited a 17.3-inch ‘Foldable OLED Laptop’ with an improved folding radius of 1.5R at IMID 2022. LG Display is currently developing foldable OLED for laptops with the goal of supplying HP.
BOE of China is also developing foldable OLED for IT. BOE exhibited a 12.3-inch foldable OLED for tablet PCs that double-folds into an S-type at SID 2022 in May of last year. It also unveiled a foldable OLED for 17.3-inch laptops, and this panel was mounted on Asus’s ‘ZenBook 17 Fold’ released in 2022.
Samsung Display, LG Display, and BOE are all developing foldable OLEDs for notebooks in the same size and resolution. When full-scale mass production begins, competition for panel supply between the three companies is expected to be fierce.