Do you ever look at your mobile device and think it’s just too rigid? Do you wish your phone would rest ever so nicely in the palm of your hand, or even fit a bit better in that back pocket? Fortunately, a growing number of tech giants have and with that comes the next wave of mobile device innovation.
According to recent reports, it appears that the flexible electronic market is growing with demand on the rise. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, market research firm DisplaySearch has revealed that the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. In other words, it’s projected that four out of 10 smartphones will be flexible over the next couple of years. This should come with little surprise following recent analysts forecasting the flexible display market to surpass the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.
As seen in recent months, flexible electronic devices have started penetrating various markets, such as consumer electronics, medical and healthcare, and power and energy, automotive, and defense. Subsequently, the global flexible electronics market is expected to reach $13.23 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 21.73%. In addition, the emerging consumer electronics market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 44.30% in the forecast period, with North America leading the pack, followed by Europe and APAC.
A new report from research firm IDTechEx has also detailed that the market for flexible OLED screens will rise to over $16 billion by the year 2020. Currently, new technologies — like smart watches and OLED TVs — are driving this uptick in consumer interest. The study projects that the OLED market will grow 43% by the year 2020, contingent upon the adoption of OLED technology by the general public. Whether these flexible screens are utilized on the newest smartphones, the technology needs to become the cultural norm if this new data is to ring true. Ferret notes that smart watches and fitness bands are currently driving the OLED market, but the relatively small screen size on these devices will not create the projected profit margins that the report detailed.
Still, when looking at the possibilities of flexible OLED screens, there seems to be no limit to their application. The ridged nature of current screens has restrained the creativity of technology developers over the last century; however, with the influx of flexible screens and products, it will be surely be interesting to see what comes next. Time will only tell, but we’re certainly inching closer to the day where users will be able to fold their devices.