So, 2010 is almost over, and it's been a very interesting year for OLEDs. The biggest story in 2010 was probably Samsung's AMOLED success. During 2010 we saw several high-profile mobile phones that use AMOLED or Super-AMOLED displays: Google Nexus-One and Nexus-S, Samsung's Jet, Wave and Galaxy-S, Nokia's N8, E7 and C7, three WP7 phones, and several HTC phones. Samsung couldn't actually keep up with demand for AMOLEDs, and some models had to switch back to LCDs.
Samsung is heavily into AMOLEDs. Back in May they committed $2.2 billion for a new Gen-5.5 AMOLED plant - which will go online in July 2011. This plant will increase Samsung's production capacity ten-fold. LG is also investing heavily in new lines (and plan a 5.5-Gen plant of their own) and other companies that plan to start mass production of AMOLEDs soon include TPO, AUO, Visionox, Wintek and others.
For OLED-Lighting, 2010 was a great year. During 2010 Lumiotec started producing and shipping OLED samples, and several companies started to offer premium OLED lamps based on Philips, Blackbody and OSRAM panels. We saw a lot of OLED lighting prototypes, and several new companies announced plans to enter the market, including Pioneer (together with Mitsubishi), Panasonic, AUO, Kaneka, NeoView Kolon and Showa Denko. OSRAM will build a new OLED Lighting pilot plant with a $70 million investment, and UDC (together with Moser Baer) will spend $20 million on pilot production lines of their own.
2010 wasn't the year of the OLED-TV, though. Sony stopped producing the XEL-1, and no new Sony OLED TV is in sight. LG did bring the EL9500 to Europe, but obviously a 15" costing €2000 can't be a huge success, and they didn't even bother to sell it in the US. On the plus side, LG did show a 31" 3D OLED TV prototype with plans to start selling it in 201). Samsung are obviously developing OLED TVs, but no real plans to produce them so far.
So, that was 2010 in a nutshell. What will 2011 bring? CES 2011 will probably bring us several cool new prototypes involving transparent and flexible OLEDs (there's a chance that some companies will announce plans to start commercially producing such displays), and several new phones and cameras that use OLEDs. But everybody will be waiting till June - which is when Samsung's new plant is due to begin producing AMOLEDs. This will not only solve the supply issues for mobile phones, but Samsung also plans to start producing 7" (or even larger) panels. They didn't really hide their intentions: they want to use these in their next-generation tablets. We'll probably start seeing all sorts of tablets, netbooks and other devices that use these larger panels.
We can expect to see more and more investments pouring in into OLED lighting research and production - although we do not expect real mass production of OLED lighting panels to begin in 2011. Some companies (such as OSRAM, Philips, Lumiotec and others) will increase production and probably offer larger and more efficient panels - but they will not be able to produce them cheaply enough to actually compete for general lighting.
2011 won't be the OLED-TV year either. Sure, LG may start selling a 31" OLED TV, but this will not be mass produced and the price will be high ($9000 is the current estimate). We do not expect either Samsung or Sony to announce new OLED TVs in 2011. On the bright side, OLED is great technology for 3D, and if 3D-at-the-home takes off it might bring more companies to invest in OLED panels.
What are your predictions for 2011? Please comment and share them with us here!