#NewsBytesExplainer: What are foldable displays and how do they work?
Thanks to technological advancements, foldable devices are no more conceptual ideas that we would see in sci-fi movies. In fact, they are the latest innovation in the world of smartphones. With flexible OLED technology, these devices use a much larger screen while folding into a compact form, offering more productivity and scope for multitasking. But how do foldable displays work?
Why does this story matter?
With a growing demand, more and more brands are introducing their own version of foldable smartphones. According to Counterpoint Research, the foldable smartphone shipments are expected to see a 10x growth by 2023. Samsung is likely to dominate the market with nearly 75% share while Google and Apple might also enter the segment. This article aims to explain the technology behind the foldable devices.
Foldable OLED screens use flexible plastic substrate
Foldable displays use Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. When electricity is passed from cathode to anode, the organic layers between them release energy in the form of light. Samsung started using flexible OLED panels by adopting a plastic substrate. In 2020, the company advanced 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 only on foldable OLED technology. But why cannot we use other display types? Apart from OLED panels, all other display types use glass substrates, making them hard to fold. OLED screens also do not require backlights, making the panels thin enough to be flexible.
Some of the advantages of a foldable smartphone are that they provide more screen area for improved multitasking and a better viewing experience in general. However, since the technology is expensive, foldable phones command a hefty price-tag. They are also bulky, less reliable, fragile, and have app compatibility issues since the form and function of foldable devices is different from the 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.