DSCC’s Latest Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Report Reveals New Insights Including Corning’s First Foldable UTG Design Win

Published June 14, 2021

DSCC released its latest Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report today which included numerous new insights on foldable and rollable displays, markets and technologies.

One surprise was a design win by Corning on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. Corning will share the ultra-thin glass (UTG) business on the Z Flip 3 with incumbent supplier SCHOTT. Corning’s UTG will be processed by Korean supplier eCONY who will perform the glass thinning and chemical strengthening steps. Corning’s entry also helps pave the way for Apple to enter the foldable market given Apple’s close reliance on Corning glass in the smartphone market. There was also a structural change on the Z Flip 3 display film stack increasing the overall display stack thickness by 8%. The Z Flip 3 is now thicker below the panel than above the panel, unlike the Z Flip 5G. For more information on Corning, eCONY and the Z Flip 3 display film stack, please see DSCC’s latest report.

The latest report also brings new insights on the revolutionary Z Fold 3 which introduces a number of industry firsts which include:

  • The first foldable display with an under panel camera;
  • The first foldable display that replaces the circular polarizer with a color filter to reduce thickness, increase brightness and lower power;
  • The first foldable display with UTG to have pen input.

The display film stack on the Z Fold 3 is nearly 40% thicker than the Z Fold 2 despite the removal of the circular polarizer due to the addition of the relatively thick digitizer. It includes a shatterproof/protection layer under the UTG previously seen in the Z Flip 5G. In addition, the Z Fold 3 incorporates a carbon reinforced polymer layer to increase strength below the panel.

Other important Samsung related insights in the report include:

  • Samsung Display’s 2022 foldable/rollable panel shipment target and allocation between Samsung and other customers;
  • The timing of Samsung’s first rollable smartphone and multi-fold tablet. These new form factors have the potential to significantly accelerate demand, improving portability and mobility in convergence devices.

DSCC also found that the Huawei Mate X2 now has the industry’s thinnest display film stack at well under 500 µm, below last year’s Z Flip 5G and Z Fold 2;

The latest report also includes new insights on:

  • Challenges associated with the color on encapsulation (CoE) process including customer feedback;
  • A deep dive into the challenges associated with integrating under panel cameras (UPC) and IR sensors including a new forecast for UPC volumes;
  • Technical challenges associated with producing rollable displays;
  • All of the foldable and rollable display products and specs shown at SID;
  • Lenovo’s experience with foldable notebooks and their future plans;
  • How the death of Windows 10X has impacted the foldable notebook market and brands latest plans and forecasts;
  • The latest foldable display cost and margin forecasts and foldable and rollable display price forecasts;
  • Brand forecasts by form factor, size, resolution, refresh rate, backplane technology, cover windows, UPCs vs. punch holes, chipsets, 5G and more with a significant increase in the number of brands covered vs. last issue;
  • Regional expectations for the new Samsung Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3;
  • And more.

DSCC presents its foldable/rollable smartphone forecasts on a panel shipment timeline, phone production timeline and phone shipment timeline to cover the interests of the entire supply chain. In 2021, DSCC sees panel shipments of 8.9M with phone production of 6.6M and phone shipments of 5.6M. The gap between phone production and shipments widens in 2021 due to the significant number of products rolling out at the end of the year.

2019 – 2021 Foldable Smartphone Shipments and Production

Looking out further into the future, DSCC expects Apple’s rumored entry into the foldable smartphone market in 2023 to significantly boost this segment, help legitimize the category and likely lead to other companies entering as well. On a panel shipment basis, DSCC expects foldable and rollable panels to grow at an 87.5% CAGR from 2020 to 2025 to 75.6M. Smartphones will dominate with an 84% CAGR and a share of at least 92% through the forecast. Looking at smartphones rather than panels, DSCC expects shipments of greater than 56M units in 2025. Tablets can benefit from multi-fold, improving their portability. Notebooks still need to resolve their software issues. TVs will remain expensive until technical issues are resolved. We expect foldable/rollable panel revenues to grow at a 90% CAGR from ’20 to ‘25 to $13B with smartphone panels growing at an 85% CAGR to $11.5B and its share declining to 89% by 2025. Smartphone panels will benefit from higher priced in-folding and rollable panels taking share from lower priced clamshells.

2020 - 2025 Foldable and Rollable Display Shipments by Application

For more information on subscribing to the Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report, which is also available for purchase as a single issue, please contact info@displaysupplychain.com.

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Written by

Ross Young