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Samsung: company spotlight

Samsung is one of the leaders in OLED display research and the clear leader in AMOLED production. OLED Displays are thinner, more efficient and offer better picture quality than LCD or Plasma displays.

Samsung 5.7'' flexible OLED photo

Samsung are confident that OLED displays is the best future technology. Samsung invested billions of dollars in OLED research and production facilities. In February 2012 Samsung PR summarizes the company’s view on OLED technology: “Currently, the display market is undergoing rapid changes with OLED panels expected to fast replace LCD panels to become the mainstream.”

Samsung AMOLED mobile products

Samsung is the using AMOLEDs in many of their gadgets - in fact they are the leading company by far with regard to OLED production and adoption. Today Samsung is using OLED displays in most of their new phones, including the Galaxy S4, and the Note II. Samsung also has several AMOLED cameras available such as the B850F, NX200, TL350 nd others.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo

Samsung's 2011 Galaxy Tab 7.7" Android Tablet had a 7.7" Super AMOLED Plus panel - and this was the largest mobile product with an OLED display. Sadly Samsung has yet to release a new tablet with an AMOLED display. One of the problems is that Samsung's own OLED production capacity will not be able to support such a product currently.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 photo

Samsung Display's most advanced AMOLED mobile displays are the 4.99" Full-HD (440 PPI) panel used in the GS4 and the 5.7" Full-HD panel used in the Note 3. Samsung also started to produce Flexible AMOLEDs (more on this below).

Samsung is offering several AMOLED types for mobile devices. Super AMOLED displays embed the touch panel inside the display and feature Samsung's PenTile matrix technology. These displays offer a great performance outdoors and are considered by many top mobile displays on the market. Super AMOLED Plus displays use a regular RGB matrix. Samsung also offers "regular" AMOLED displays without an embedded touch layer (usually with PenTile)

Flexible OLEDs

After years of research, in October 2013 Samsung announced they have started to mass produce flexible OLEDs. Samsung is producing 5.7" Full-HD panels and it is reported that they will adopt them in a Special Edition Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.

Samsung currently capacity is about 8,000 5.5-Gen sheets, which is about 1-1.5 million 5" panels a month assuming 100% yield. But they are producing larger panels, yields won't be that high and the line is also used for R&D which means that actual production will be a few hundreds of thousands of panels a month.

Samsung OLED TVs

In January 2013 Samsung unveiled the F9500 flat FHD 55" OLED TV. Samsung OLED TVs use 'Real OLED' RGB subpixels (direct emission), as opposed to LG Display's WRGB color-filter based architecture and LED TVs which use LC and color filters. While Samsung has yet to release this TV commercially, in August 2013 the company did launch the KN55S9C Curved OLED TV in Korea ($8900) and in the US or $8999.

Samsung KN55S9 photo

Samsung says their OLED TV offer the industry's best picture quality, and according to CNET, this is absolutely true (although they didn't review LG's curved OLED TV yet).

Samsung OLED production

Samsung Display is the number one producer of AMOLED panels (they make over 90% of AMOLED panels worldwide) Samsung currently makes displays sized 2" to 7.7" and has two AMOLED fabs (a 4.5-Gen and a 5.5-Gen that began operation in May 2011).

OLED production at SMD photo

Samsung is investing a lot of money in AMOLED capacity. 2012 investment alone was around $6 billion.

Samsung transparent OLEDs

Samsung are developing transparent OLEDs, but these are lagging behind flexible OLEDs. In 2010 they actually announced a product with such a display (the IceTouch, an MP3 player with a 2" full-color transparent AMOLED) that was never released sadly. They also unveiled larger transparent display prototypes such as an OLED 'window' and an OLED laptop, but currently they have never actually started producing transparent OLEDs.

Samsung Transparent AMOLED, CES 2009 photoSamsung Transparent AMOLED laptop

Here's a nice 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

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