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OLED is an emerging display technology that is fast becoming the mainstream display technology in many markets, as OLED enables display panels that offer the best image quality and free design as they can be made flexible and transparent. The Samsung OLED displays are considered to be the best in the industry and the Korean company is the clear lead in AMOLED production for mobile devices.

SDC 5.7'' FHD rollable OLED at SID 2016

Over the pay years Samsung invested billions of dollars in OLED research and production facilities as the company sees OLEDs fast replacing LCD displays in all mobile applications.

Samsung AMOLED displays

Samsung is currently producing over 300 million AMOLED displays in a year, used mostly in smartphones - such as Samsung's own Galaxy S7 (and S7 edge ) - but also in smartphones from Gionee, Meizu, Acer, HP, Vivo, Microsoft, Lenovo, ZTE, Hisense, Konka and others. Samsung also produces large mobile OLEDs for tablets, laptops and monitors.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge photoSamsung Galaxy S6 Edge

In August 2013 Samsung launched the company's first OLED TV, the KN55S9C, which used a curved 55" OLED panel. The TV was priced at around $8999 in the US and Korea, but is no longer in production, and was never in real mass production. Samsung has yet to return to OLED TV production.

Samsung flexible OLED displays

Following its initial flexible OLED production launch in 2013, and the huge success of its edge-type phones, Samsung is currently producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs each month to satisfy demand for the Galaxy S7 edge and its other flexible OLED products. Samsung has reportedly been chosen to supply 100 million flexible OLED panels to Apple's future iPhones.

Samsung 5.7'' flexible OLED photo

Future Samsung OLED devices

Samsung is developing several next generation display technologies based on OLEDs. Samsung has been developing a foldable OLED device for a long time - which may dramatically change the mobile device market as it could enable smartphone to turn into tablets or phones that can be folded into smaller devices.

Samsung is also developing transparent OLEDs (see the company's 55" FHD transparent and mirror-type OLEDs here) for retail application, and also readies next generation displays for the automotive industry.

Several years ago Samsung released the following video, showing a concept transparent flexible AMOLED tablet device. It will be years before Samsung can commercialize such a display, but it's nice to see what the future holds:

Further reading

Latest Samsung OLED news

Samsung's Super AMOLED Galaxy Tab S3 is now shipping

Mar 25, 2017

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is now shipping in the US for $699 (Wi-Fi edition). This gaming and entertainment optimized Android V7 tablet features a 9.7" QXGA (2048x1536) Super AMOLED display, a quad-core Snapdragon 820 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, microSD slot and quad-stereo speakers.

According to report from Korea, Samsung Electronics has decided to start adopting OLED displays in all of its tablet devices and to increasingly use OLEDs in laptops. The Galaxy Tab S3 is the company's latest OLED tablet.

Samsung reportedly demonstrated new OLED technologies - including polarizer-free OLEDs and 1,200 PPI VR displays

Mar 23, 2017

According to the Korea Herald, Samsung Electronics demonstrated several new display technologies in a private room during the Mobile World Congress last month. All of these technologies are expected to enter production within the next year or two, according to the source quoted by the report.

1,200 PPI AMOLED for VR

The report claims that Samsung demonstrated a high-resolution AMOLED panel for VR applications. The AMOLED on display featured a 1,200 PPI - much higher than Samsung's current highest density displays which are 577 PPI. Samsung's aim is to reach 1,500 PPI which will greatly enhance the VR experience.

SDC 806 PPI VR OLED at SID 2016

In November 2016 Sunic Systems announced that it developed an plane-source evaporation-FMM based AMOLED production process that can reach very high densities. The 100um mask announced in November can achieve a PPI of 1,500. This may be the system that Samsung is now testing. Sunic says that eventually this technology will enable even 2,250 PPI.

OLED Microdisplays Market Report

Samsung aims to adopt OLEDs in all its future tablets

Mar 23, 2017

According to a report in Korea, Samsung Electronics has decided to start adopting OLED displays in all of its tablet devices and to increasingly use OLEDs in laptops.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 photo

Samsung Display is currently producing OLEDs for tablets and laptops in a limited quantity, as most of its OLED capacity is dedicated to mobile phone displays. According to ETNews SDC will continue to gradually convert its LCD lines to OLED and the ultimate goal of SDC is to only produce OLED displays for mobile devices.

Digitimes: Samsung and LG aim to reduce their reliance on foreign organic material producers

Mar 22, 2017

Digitimes Researcher states that currently Samsung Display and LG Display both rely on imported organic materials used in OLED production, but the two Korean makers aim to decrease this reliance. Both companies are buying stakes in companies outside of Korea (for example Samsung's Novaled acquisition and Sun Fine Chem investment) in order to obtain patents and move production in house, mostly at LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

Corning Lotus XT glass photo

The polyimide used as a substrate in flexible OLEDs, for example, is produced by Japanese Ube Industries - and used by both LG and samsung. Several organic materials used in the OLED stack are produced by Universal Display (PHOLED emitters), Idemitsu Kosan, Dow Chemical and Merck. Both companies use glass mostly from Corning and high-temperature thin film for the back-end processing from 3M.

Flexible OLEDs - a market snapshot

Mar 11, 2017
This is a premium OLED-Info article

Flexible displays are exciting - giving device makers the freedom of design can potentially unlock new applications and put displays where they haven't been seen before. Flexible displays, made on plastic substrates, are also thinner, lighter and more durable.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)

Following years of research, in 2013 both Samsung Display and LG Display finally started producing flexible OLEDs on plastic substrates. Since then Samsung has taken the clear lead, but LGD has some ambitious plans of its own. Other display makers are also aiming to start making such panels soon. This article will detail current AMOLED production capabilities, future production plans and market forecasts.

DSCC sees 1.2 billion mobile AMOLED displays produced in 2021, SDC's market share to drop to 63%

Mar 10, 2017

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) released some very interesting information regarding the mobile OLED market from its recent OLED market report by Yoshio Tamura and Ross Young. DSCC expects mobile AMOLED demand to grow from almost 400 million panels in 2016 to almost 1.2 billion in 2021.

AMOLED shipments by smartphone brand (2016-2021, DSCC)

Samsung Electronics, who's already using AMOLED displays in almost 80% of its smartphones will not increase its AMOLED orders by a lot, but shipments will grow dramatically to other players led by Apple, Huawei and Oppo.

UBI: SDC's AMOLED market share will drop to 72% by 2020

Feb 23, 2017

UBI Research estimates that Samsung Display's AMOLED market share will be 89% in 2017. As more and more OLED producers join the market, SDC's market share will fall to 72% by 2020.

SDC AMOLED market share (UBI, 2017-2020)

Samsung Display will still increase its production capacity substantially - but it will not be able to remain its market share. The whole market will grow to $57 billion by 2020 (up from about $12-15 billion in 2016), so this is still an excellent growth for Samsung.

TrendForce: Apple decided not to use a flexible OLED in next iPhone

Feb 22, 2017

Countless reports claim that the 2017 iPhone 8 (or will it be a >$1000 iPhone X?) will use AMOLED displays for at least one variant. Most of these reports suggested that Apple want to use a flexible curved AMOLED display.

iPhone 7 photo

TrendForce, following talks to supply chain sources, now says that Apple was not happy with the production yields and drop-test results of those flexible OLEDs, and the company decided to adopt a flat display (with rounded edges, what is called 2.5D glass). This design is similar to the one used in current iPhone models.

Report suggest Apple ordered a second OLED deal from SDC

Feb 13, 2017

According to a report from Korea, Apple ordered an extra 60 million flexible OLED panels from Samsung Display for the next-generation iPhone, in a deal worth 5 trillion Korean Won, or about $4.3 billion.

iPhone 7 photo

The report says that this deal is an addition to Apple's original OLED order in late 2016. That 2016 deal, for 100 million OLEDs, was estimated at $4.3 billion as well, so it may be that this is actually the same display order that is just now being reported again.

Novaled breaks ground on a new €20 million facility

Jan 27, 2017

Novaled has started constructing its new €20 million fab and office buildings. The new facility will be located in the north of Dresden, and will comprise of a renovated old mill that will be turned into a prestigious office building and a new 110-meter long R&D plant with state-of-the-art research areas, laboratories and clean rooms.

Novaled's future Dresden HQ (render, 2017)

Novaled says it is the world's only supplier of organic dopants for mass produced OLED displays - and also in OLED lighting panels. Novaled's materials are also used in OPV devices.