Recently, Yonhap News broke out that Huawei’s new folding screen mobile phone will be equipped with Samsung’s folding panel. It is reported that this is because some users have reported that the screen quality of the first generation of products is not good, and Huawei began to consider cooperation with Samsung Display last year.
With the continuous maturity of OLED technology, Samsung, Huawei, and Rouyu Technology have followed up quickly. Since 2018, they have successively launched their own folding mobile phones, namely Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X, and Roupai. But on the most critical flexible screen hardware, because each supplier is different, the screen experience and cost are also different, so the screen quality has caused some controversy. However, some manufacturers have been troubled by problems such as raised screen folding, screen flickering, half screen not showing, and green lines on the fully flexible screen. At the same time, issues such as process and yield have greatly restricted product shipments. Judging from the current public sales statistics, Huawei’s Mate X series has limited shipments, and some screen issues have also appeared in the limited shipments. Looking at it this way, it is not difficult to understand why Huawei switched to Samsung’s screen.
Domestic flexible screens are still in the early stages of development. Behind Huawei’s switch to Samsung’s flexible panels, it must be said that there are still some shortcomings in the domestic flexible panel industry, especially in key aspects such as flexible screen production capacity, yield, and performance. And Huawei made this choice simply to pursue a folding screen with a better user experience, so as to improve the competitiveness of its own products. In other words, the fact that Huawei turned to Samsung is the simplest and direct proof of the fact that the level of the domestic screen supply chain has yet to be improved, including the segmented industry chain of flexible screens. No matter whether it is in process or production capacity, there is no doubt that it will still be paid. In a stage of development. On the other hand, there are still some technical bottlenecks in the domestic flexible screen industry. At present, according to the information from all parties, among the domestic flexible screen suppliers, only Rouyu Technology has fully self-developed technology, and it is a true full flexible screen. Withstands hundreds of thousands of bends, the flexible screen technology of other panel manufacturers is actually imported from Samsung. From this point of view, the domestic flexible screen industry does not actually have an advantage at the source of technology, so it is difficult to perform well in all aspects of yield, performance, and experience. It can be said that in this situation, The entire domestic flexible screen industry chain is facing some uncertainties.
Technology determines the cost and experience. The flexible screen experience is poor, and the price of folding screen phones is generally higher than that of ordinary smart phones. These problems are reflected in technology and cost issues. When it comes to folding screen technology, there are currently two flexible screen technology solutions in the industry. One is LTPS technology (low-temperature polysilicon technology) that both Samsung and BOE are using. This technology solution has been used in traditional LCD displays and The traditional OLED curved Display has a long development history; the other is the ULT-NSSP technology (ultra-low temperature non-silicon process integration technology) independently developed by Royole Technology, which is independently developed by Royole. The two technologies are fundamentally different in flexible screen production schemes, so there are no small differences in cost, experience, and characteristics.
Because the LTPS technology cannot well meet the low temperature required in the production of full flexible screens, it is difficult to maintain a relatively good level of yield, and the reliability and frequency of bending are not satisfactory. On the other hand, ULT-NSSP technology uses non-silicon materials to produce fully flexible screens at a very low temperature. On the other hand, it simplifies the production process and improves the production efficiency. Therefore, the fully flexible screen produced by ULT-NSSP technology, There are obvious advantages in yield and cost. And from the perspective of folding screen terminal products, Rouyu Technology’s Roupai price is indeed much lower than Huawei and Samsung’s folding phones, and the user experience is not inferior. In many scenarios, it is even significantly better than Huawei and Samsung. Folding screen mobile phones, such as higher brightness and higher color accuracy under a fixed oblique viewing angle.
Combining the previous technical differences, it is not difficult to understand the advantages of Royole Technology in terminal technology, that is, the cost and experience advantages brought by technical advantages. It can be said that Royole Technology’s self-developed ULT-NSSP technology is comparable to Samsung Compared with BOE’s LTPS technology, it has a good performance in terms of performance and yield. Another point is that now is the initial stage of the development of the flexible screen industry chain, so terminal differences brought about by differentiated technologies, especially in terms of cost and performance, are naturally very obvious. To some extent, it can also be said that different technical routes will provide manufacturers with different starting speeds and accelerations.
Panels with better mass production and production capacity are more expensive, so Huawei’s switch to Samsung panels is obviously not the main reason for cost, but from the aforementioned supply capacity, production capacity must be an important reason. Although it is the initial stage of the flexible screen industry, from the performance of the entire C-end market, consumers are very enthusiastic about the early adopters of folding screen phones, and the demand for folding screen production capacity is far greater than expected. For several flexible screen suppliers, whether they have mass production capacity and the size of their production capacity, to a certain extent, also determine their competitiveness and voice in the entire industrial chain.
Judging from the current sales data released by various brands of folding mobile phones, it is clear that Samsung’s flexible screen mass production capacity is significantly ahead of BOE. But at the same time, Royole Technology, the first to release a folding screen mobile phone, cannot be ignored. According to the information provided by Royole Technology, as early as mid-2018, Royole Technology achieved mass production of fully flexible screens, and the current production capacity is also Continuously expanding, it is reported that its first-phase production capacity is 2.8 million pieces per year, and the second-phase production capacity can reach 8.8 million pieces per year after completion. From the perspective of the demand of the terminal market, Rouyu Technology’s mass production capacity and production capacity can fully support the mass shipment demand of a leading mobile phone brand.
For flexible screens that are still in the early stages of development, the sooner they are mass-produced, the more they will have a greater cost advantage, which will radiate to the terminal equipment and form a relatively considerable competitive price. Judging from the current situation, if Huawei really switches to using Samsung’s flexible panels, it will actually be a burden for Samsung. After all, the demand for Huawei’s folding screen phones is not small. And there was news at the beginning of the year that Samsung is accelerating the expansion of the production capacity of AMOLED folding screens. In contrast, in this production capacity war, Royole Technology’s production capacity design is currently sufficient to meet the needs of the entire folding screen market, and due to its technological advantage, with the continuous expansion of Royole Technology’s production capacity, Royole Technology’s The cost advantage of mass production of fully flexible screens will also be further magnified.
Deeply tapping the application potential, the purpose of each chasing flexible screen production capacity is not only for higher shipments of folding screen mobile phones, but also points to other terminal products that flexible screens may be used for. In addition to mobile phones, in the automotive industry, home furnishing industry, and even in the sports fashion industry, various manufacturers are constantly trying to integrate with flexible screens. Among them, Rouyu Technology’s performance is very positive. Outside the mobile phone industry, Rouyu Technology has also cooperated with LV to produce bags with screens, and jointly developed in-flight displays with Airbus.
Flexible screen manufacturers are constantly looking for new application scenarios for flexible screens, and they are also invisibly stimulating the application potential of flexible screens, opening up a larger market for them. However, as a flexible screen material, the depth and breadth of its application basically depend on its characteristics, that is, performance determines application capabilities. The application in the more complex and diversified scenarios will naturally bring more unknown tests to the flexible screen. Judging from the current various application practices of Royole Technology, based on its technical advantages, there have been more application scenarios for its flexible screens. From this perspective, the many advantages of Royole Technology’s flexible screen characteristics are indeed for them. It opens up a larger imagination space in the application scenarios, which leads to a lot of opponents, especially the light and thin characteristics, which can enable flexible screens to be used in many special scenarios. In general, there is still a lot of room for application mining of flexible screens.
The future winning point of flexible screens Under the trend of IoT, traditional hardware embedded screens are already an obvious trend, and the characteristics of flexible screens determine that it can be applied to many extreme scenarios under this trend. Although the flexible screen industry has just started, technology upgrades, application innovation, and terminal trial and error are still the main tasks, but the maturity of mainstream terminals such as folding mobile phones will gradually drive the extensive penetration of flexible screens into the C-end market. Regarding the future development of flexible screens, some institutions have predicted that the scale of the flexible AMOLED market will reach 56.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, and the market share will reach 73%. The temptation of the blue ocean is great, and the competition on the flexible screen track will become more and more fierce. After Samsung, BOE and Rouyu Technology, there may be younger flexible screen manufacturers appearing. However, at present, the first batch of “crab-eating people” has established a relatively solid first-mover advantage, especially the young Rouyu Technology. With its technological differentiation advantages at the beginning of the era of flexible screens, it has formed an advantage to traditional giants. overtake.
This means that even if the industry chain is in its infancy, the winning point of the flexible screen market will inevitably be the core technology, and the cost, experience and other advantages that technology brings. As for the changes in the choices made by manufacturers, it clearly shows a truth: Only when the core technology is solid, the breakers will not be easily “taken by the mouth” in the increasingly cruel competition.