OLED displays use organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied. OLEDs enable emissive, bright, thin, flexible and efficient displays - and so OLEDs are set to replace LCDs in all display applications - from small displays to large TV sets.
AMOLED displays today are used in many applications - and are most common in smartphones. Samsung for example uses AMOLED displays in most of its high-end phones, including the latest Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus and the Note 9. Apple's new iPhones, SmarthWatches, and the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar are all using AMOLEDs. Other AMOLED devices include smartphones from Huawie, Sony, Xiaomi and others.
AMOLED displays are also used in OLED TVs - which are mostly available from LG. OLED TV screens range from 55" to 77" (88" 8K ones are coming in 2019), and are considered to be the best TV panels ever produced. In 2019 we will have the first rollable OLED TV - LG's 65" Signature OLED R.
AMOLED: Active Matrix OLED
The term AMOLED means Active-Matrix OLED. The 'active-matrix' part refers to the driving electronics, or the TFT layer. When you display an image, you actually display it line by line (sequentially) as you can only change one line at a time. An AMOLED uses a TFT which contains a storage capacitor which maintains the line pixel states, and so enables large size (and large resolution) displays.
AMOLED vs PMOLED
A PMOLED uses a simpler kind of driver electronics - without a storage capacitor. This means that each line is turned off when you move to the next line. So let's say you have 10 rows in your display - each row will only be on 1/10 of the time. The brightness of each row has to be 10 times the brightness you'd get in an AMOLED. So you use more voltage which shortens the lifetime of the OLED materials and also results in a less efficient display. So while PMOLEDs are cheaper to make than AMOLEDs they are limited in size and resolution (the largest PMOLED is only 5", and most of them are around 1" to 3"). Most PMOLEDs are used for character display, and not to show photos or videos.
Flexible, foldable and rollable AMOLEDs
One of the main advantages of AMOLED displays is that they can be made flexible. Flexible AMOLEDs are already popular for many years in smartphones and wearables, and in 2019 we will experience the first foldable devices and rollable screens.
Several companies are developing large transparent AMOLED displays - and in past years we've seen many prototypes - including a large 55" Full-HD transparent TV. But this technology is not commercial yet, mostly it seems because there are no useful applications that will convince the display makers to mass produce such panels.
Looking to buy an AMOLED display?
Are you looking to adopt an AMOLED display for your device? Several producers are already making panels - including Samsung Display, LG Display, EverDisplay, Truly, Visionox and more. AMOLEDs on the market range from small 1-inch ones for smartwatches through large OLEDs used in tablets and laptops - to large TV panels.
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The latest AMOLED news:
Xiaomi's VP (and Redmi manager) Lu Weibing posted an interesting poll at its Weibo account. Weibing asked Xiaomi users whether they prefer an AMOLED or LCD display.
Out of around 20,000 respondents, over 14,000 chose AMOLED as the preferred display type. Last year he posted a similar poll - but then most users preferred an LCD display. LCD advocates say that they prefer LCD if drove by DC dimming, rather than the PWM used in most AMOLEDs. It is actually also possible to use DC Dimming with OLED displays.
Chinese smartphone producer TCL unveiled an interesting new smartphone prototype (concept?) called the Fold ‘n’ Roll.
As you can see in the video, the device has a 6.87-inch OLED display when fully folded. It can open up (out-folding) into a 8.85-inch display, and then it can open even further to a 10-inch tablet-like device using a rolling mechanism. The display itself is produced by TCL's CSoT subsidiary.
Korea-based OLUM Material announced a new FMM technology for OLED production, which the company refers to as Unit-Cell FMM, which enables high-efficiency deposition (and patterning) of evaporated OLED materials.
The basic idea is to use a small FMM panel in front of every display panel, rather than a large FMM in front of the entire substrate. A large mask is useful for very fast production, but the large masks tend to sag and deform and so FMM production is limited in size.
According to Trendforce, smartphone brands will increase adoption of AMOLED displays in 2021, which will lead to a 39% market share for AMOLED displays in the total smartphone display market - up from 31% in 2019.
AMOLED displays are increasingly replacing high-end LTPS LCD displays in the high-end part of the smartphone market. The market share of lower-end a:Si LCD is quite stable.
Samsung Display announced that the company aims to lead the gaming display market, and it will supply more OLED displays for gaming smartphones, in addition to gaming laptops (as it does already). These displays will be branded as "OLED for gaming" displays.
Samsung Display reveals its AMOLED displays were adopted by Asus for its latest gaming smartphone (the ROG Phone 5) - a 6.78-inch 1080x2448 HDR10+ (1200 nits peak) 144Hz AMOLED display.
The US court in Texas says Samsung should pay $62.7 million to Solas due to two OLED patents it infringed upon
Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED announced that a jury in the US district court in Texas has found Samsung Display and Samsung Electronics liable to Solas for wilfully infringing two fundamental OLED patents (USPTO #7,446,338 and #9,256,311). The jury awarded solas with $62.7 million in damages.
Solas says that these patents are required for AMOLED to function - these patents were used in the OLED displays used in Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones.
Market research company Omdia estimates that LG Display held a 92.5% share in the automotive AMOLED panel market in 2020, in terms of sales. Samsung Displays accounted for 6.9% and BOE 0.6%.
LG 12.8-inch P-OLED in Mercedes Benz 2021 S-Class
OMDIA estimates that the total AMOLED automotive market in 2020 was 240,000 units, and says that the market will experience a fast growth of 60% CAGR to reach 4.4 million units in 2025.
Visionox reports good financial result for 2020, may receive large OLED orders from Huawei and Honor
China-based OLED maker Visionox reported good preliminary financial results for 2020, with increased sales and improved revenues and profits. The company expects its net profit to be around 141-210 million Yuan ($21-31 million USD), which will represent an increase of 120-227% over 2019.
The company says that its ability to innovate OLED technologies (specially the world's first OLED with an under-the-screen camera and the world's first 144Hz refresh rate OLED) enabled the company to increase its customer base and in 2020 it has added OPPO and Motorola as customers.
Business Korea reports that Hyundai will adopt SDC's AMOLEDs in its upcoming EV, the Ioniq 5 (which will Hyundai's first car based on its Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP).
The Ioniq 5 will offer optional rear view cameras (similar to the system used by Audi in its e-tron EV) which will use SDC's AMOLED displays.
Towards the end of 2020, Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED filed a complaint to the US International Trade Commission against Samsung Electronics and BOE, saying that the two companies infringe upon some of its AMOLED patents.
The US ITC apparently decided to launch a section 337 investigation aginst both BOE and Samsung. Solas OLED requested that the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and cease orders.