#NewsBytesExplainer: What are foldable screens and how do they work?

Published on
November 23, 2021, 12:45 am


Foldable OLED technology in smartphones explained

Thanks to advancements in technology, foldable devices are no longer conceptual ideas that we would see in sci-fi movies. In fact, they are the latest innovation in the world of smartphones.

Thanks to flexible OLED technology, these devices use a much larger screen while also folding into a compact form, providing more productivity and possibilities for multitasking.

But how do foldable screens work?

Why is this story important?

With increasing demand, more and more brands are introducing their own version of foldable smartphones.

According to Counterpoint search, foldable smartphone shipments are expected to increase tenfold by 2023. Samsung is expected to lead the market with nearly 75% of the market share, while Google and Apple may also enter the segment.

This article aims to explain the technology behind foldable devices.

Foldable OLED displays use flexible plastic substrate

Foldable OLED displays use flexible plastic substrate

Foldable screens use OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology. As electricity passes from the cathode to the anode, the organic layers between them release energy in the form of light.

Samsung started using flexible OLED panels by adopting plastic substrate. In 2020, the company perfected its technology to introduce the Galaxy Z Flip as the first foldable phone with an “ultra-thin glass screen”.

But why do all foldable smartphones use flexible OLED technology?

From Royole FlexPai, the world’s first foldable smartphone to the latest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3, brands have relied solely on foldable OLED technology. But why can’t we use other types of display?

Apart from OLED panels, all other types of displays use glass substrates, which makes them difficult to bend. OLED displays also do not require backlighting, which makes the panels thin enough to be flexible.

Foldable smartphones offer multitasking at a premium price

Foldable smartphones offer multitasking at a premium price

Some of the benefits of a foldable smartphone are that it offers more screen area for improved multitasking and a better overall viewing experience.

However, because the technology is expensive, foldable phones are expensive.

They are also bulky, less reliable, fragile, and have application compatibility issues as the shape and function of foldable devices is different from that of regular smartphones.

Some of the foldable smartphones you can buy right now

Right now, the foldable smartphone segment offers only a handful of options. You can buy Samsung’s Z Fold3, Z Fold2 and Z Flip3 models, Huawei’s Mate X2, Xiaomi’s Mi MIX FOLD, and Motorola’s RAZR 5G flip phone.


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