CSOT, the display-development subsidiary of the Chinese electronics biggie TCL, showcased a couple of flexible-display prototypes at CES 2021. One is a 17-inch printed OLED scrolling display and the other is a 6.7-inch AMOLED rollable display.
Targeted at large-size display products such as flexible TVs, curved and foldable tablets and smartphones, and transparent commercial displays, the 17-inch printed OLED scrolling display uses the company's inkjet printing technology. This technology doesn't need fine metal masks. As a result, the production cost of CSOT's flexible OLED panel is 20-percent lower than traditional display technologies.
CSOT, which is an abbreviation for China Star Optoelectronics Technology, says the panel is just 0.18mm thick and is highly scrollable and portable. The company also rates the panel to produce a 100 percent color gamut, allowing for a significantly enhanced display quality.
CSOT shows off a 6.7-inch AMOLED rollable display as well
Along with the 17-inch printed OLED scrolling display, CSOT also showcased a 6.7-inch AMOLED rollable display at the ongoing online-only mega electronics event. This rollable display can extend from 6.7-inches to 7.8-inches with a simple tap of the finger.
It is the same panel that we saw in TCL's rollable smartphone prototype earlier this week. The Chinese company is preparing to launch this device by the end of this year. It believes rollable smartphones have an upper hand over foldable smartphones in the future. Both the form factors are designed to turn a smartphone into a tablet.
However, rollable displays enable a much smaller overall footprint, with a thickness of less than 10mm. That's just about 2mm thicker than the current crop of smartphones.
CSOT's rollable display features a special sliding mechanism that can hide or pull out the panel with a simple swipe of a button. It has a curling and sliding radius of just 3mm. The device can withstand up to 100,000 sliding movements.
While we have already seen several foldable smartphones arrive in the market over the last couple of years, we are still waiting for the world's first commercially available rollable smartphone. However, the wait may not be too long now. Along with TCL, Oppo and LG are also working on a rollable smartphone of their own. It now remains to be seen who brings it to the market first.
The flexible smartphones market continues to grow rapidly. Display market research firm DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants) has forecasted an 80 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in foldable/rollable smartphone revenues from 2020 to 2025. The firm expects revenues to exceed $105 billion by 2025.