The smartphone industry is embracing the “foldable device” trend next year and display makers are anticipated to be the big winners of this move. A market research unit has disclosed that demand for flexible OLED panels will pick up next year as a result of the new trend. 

Digitimes Inc. research arm Digitimes Research published a new report Monday, detailing the expected rise of demand for flexible OLED panels next year. According to the outlet, the increase in demand will be driven by handset vendors who are releasing the first wave of foldable smartphones later this year or early next year. 

The nascent foldable phone market is expected to be led by none other than Samsung Electronics, who has been very vocal about its desire to release the world’s first foldable smartphone early next year. Interestingly, Chinese company Huawei is challenging Samsung by targeting a late-2018 launch for its own foldable device.

As what IBTimes previously learned, many other companies are developing their own foldable smartphones. Chinese brands Xiaomi and Oppo are carefully planning their own models. LG Electronics was already granted a patent for its foldable phone design. On the other hand, a Motorola patent appears to be hinting at a Razr reboot. 

Given the number of companies that are interested in joining the new market, it’s not surprising that the demand for flexible OLED panels is predicted to rise in 2019. Samsung Display has the fastest development in the flexible OLED sector, so it is very likely for the company to obtain the most orders from several manufacturers.

Digitimes Research has also learned that most of the upcoming foldable phone models are going to have an in-folding design because it is less complicated compared to an outwardly configured design. Despite this however, manufacturers still need to find ways to overcome certain issues like dust accumulating in the bends of flexible displays and the number of times the flexible displays are allowed to bend. 

Meanwhile, the established non-foldable smartphone market is expected to grow further next year as more manufacturers prepare flagship handsets with non-flexible displays. BOE Technology is eager to catch up with Samsung Display, so it is luring OLED panel orders from Apple while Samsung’s display-making unit is busy fulfilling orders for flexible OLED panels.