The panel provided for OPPO can be folded from top to bottom and is a clamshell design with internal folding. The unfolded size is 7.7 inches, and the size of the external screen is between 1.5 and 2 inches, which is larger than the 6.7 inches used by Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Z Flip launched last year.
OPPO launched a 7.7-inch external folding prototype last year. Last year, the company used Samsung Display, BOE and Visionox as partners to develop foldable panels. But this year, Samsung Display is its only partner.
Xiaomi is also moving from folding outside to folding inside. Last year, the company launched a 7.92-inch screen prototype developed in cooperation with Visionox. For this year’s products, the company’s goal is a panel size of 8.03 inches, and the external screen size will be 6.38 inches.
The panel was jointly developed by Samsung Display and China Star Optoelectronics, and China Star Optoelectronics, together with BOE, provided a foldable panel for Motorola Razr in 2019.
At the same time, Google has asked Samsung Display to develop a foldable OLED panel with a size of about 7.6 inches.
More and more foldable products choose to fold inside instead of outside. Rouyu and Huawei chose the outer folding design for their foldable phones launched in 2019. Huawei’s first foldable phone, Mate X, folds outwards, but its latest Mate X2 folds inwards. Huawei’s foldable The panel comes from BOE.
The outer folding scheme is easier to ensure the curvature required for panel folding, but the disadvantage is that it is more susceptible to external damage.
Although Samsung Display is a leader in this field, Chinese panel companies are also developing their own foldable panels. BOE, Huaxing Optoelectronics and Visionox are developing their own foldable panels for Chinese smartphone manufacturers.
Market research company Omdia predicts that foldable OLED sales will reach US$2.1 billion this year, an increase of 203% over 2020, but most of the sales will come from Samsung Display. Apple has not yet decided whether it will launch a foldable smartphone.