The year 2019 is called the "first year of foldable smartphone." It is because both Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which have the largest and second-largest shares of the global smartphone market (as of the first quarter of 2019, according to the US-based IDC), announced that they will release foldable smartphones in 2019.

At SID 2019, the world's largest academic conference on display technologies, which took place from May 12 to 17, 2019, in San Jose, the US, manufacturers based in China, which is now a display manufacturing base of the world, exhibited foldable OLED panels as if they are competing with one another.

BOE Technology Group Co Ltd (the world's largest LCD panel maker), Tianma Microelectronics Co Ltd (which has the largest share of the market for high-resolution LTPS LCD panels for smartphones), Visionox Technology Inc (which is specialized in OLED panels), China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co Ltd (CSOT, which is a subsidiary of TCL Corp (long-established home appliance maker)), etc showed their latest foldable OLED panels at SID 2019.

China-based manufacturers had large booths at SID 2019. When I entered through the entrance of the exhibition site, there was China-based BOE's booth right in front of my eyes and Tianma's booth behind it. (source: Nikkei xTech)

BOE folds panel while showing image

A staff member of BOE held a 7.7-inch OLED panel and actually folded it while showing an image.

A demonstration of BOE's foldable OLED panel (unfolded). Its screen size is 7.7 inches. (source: Nikkei xTech)

The demonstration of BOE's foldable OLED panel. It can be folded with the screen facing outward. (source: Nikkei xTech)

The demonstration of BOE's foldable OLED panel. When the display is folded, the display area of the half of the display is equivalent to 6 inches. (source: Nikkei xTech)

The screen size of the display is 7.7 inches. When the display is folded, the display area of the half of the display is equivalent to 6 inches. It can be folded with the screen facing outward. The curvature radius of the folded display is 5mm. It can be folded 100,000 times, according to BOE.

The display has a pixel count of 2,480 x 2,160, 100% color gamut on NTSC standards and contrast ratio of 100,000:1. The thickness of the entire display is 6.2mm.

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