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:
China-based display technology developer Viewtrix (also known as Yunyinggu) announced that it is starting to produce its AMOLED and OLED microdisplay driver ICs. Viewtrix plans to produce 10 million AMOLED driver ICs by the end of the year - which is about 10% of the total Chinese market.
Viewtrix also announced that it has secured its Series D financing round, totalling $45.6 million, led by Sequoia Capital China.
Apple announced its newest iPhone smartphones, and all of this year's models have OLED displays. All of Apple's new phones also include 5G connectivity and the company's latest A14 bionic 5nm chipset. Interestingly, all these OLED displays offer a refresh rate of 60Hz, it seems as if we'll have to wait for at least one more year to get 90Hz or 120Hz displays from Apple.
So first up we have the iPhone 12 Pro, which features a 6.1-inch 1170x2532 800-nits XDR AMOLED display. The larger iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch 1284x2778 AMOLED. Next we have the iPhone 12 - with its 6.1-inch 1170x2532 HDR10 XDR AMOLED display. Apple also introduced a smaller model, called the iPhone 12 mini which sports a 5.4-inch 1080x2340 HDR10 XDR AMOLED display.
The US government imposed sanctions against Huawei, which prevents the Chinese company to acquire components that use US-developed chips. According to a report from Korea, both Samsung Display and LG Display will have to stop supplying OLED displays to Huawei as these use drivers that are based on US-developed technology.
Samsung Display has applied for a US US Department of Commerce license which will allow it to export the technology to Huawei. LG Display decided not to apply for the license, at least for now, as its OLED sales to Huawei are limited in any case.
Asus announced its new 2020 laptops, with four models that use OLED displays. The convertible laptops, ZenBook Flip S (UX371) and ZenBook Flip 13 (UX363) feature a "NanoEdge" 13.3" UHD AMOLED display. The ZenBook Flip 15 (UX564) is a larger convertible laptop that features a 15-inch 4K OLED NanoEdge display.
The 2020 Asus ZenBook Pro 15 (UX535) is said to be the world's smallest laptop that features a 15.6" 4K OLED display. It also features 10th-generation Intel Core i7 and i5 H-series processors.
ZTE announced the Axon 20 5G, the first smartphone with an under-the-OLED camera. The Axon 20 5G features a full-screen 6.92-inch 1080x2460 90Hz AMOLED display and will ship in a few days in China for around $320.
The Axon 20 5G also sports an under-the-display fingerprint sensor - and ZTE says that it includes an "under-the-OLED" sound, which could mean that the OLED acts as a speaker membrane (in a similar way to LG's Crystal Sound Technology), but it is not clear exactly.
Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra smartphone, with a 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED with an LTPO backplane. The display supports a refresh rate of 120Hz at Full-HD resolution and 60Hz at QHD. The Galaxy Note family will ship on August 21 2020.
The display measurements experts at DisplayMate tested a Note 20 Ultra phone, and reports that Samsung again improved its OLED display performance (it "raises the bar significantly higher", in fact) and this high performance display will be the competitive baseline for all upcoming smartphone displays.
The first display you can see in the video is a 49-inch wide (32:9) 3840x1080 240Hz AMOLED gaming monitor display, that features a brightness of 150 nits (500 nits peak) and a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut.
Samsung Display announced a new OLED technology, called Adaptive Frequency that enables variable refresh rate in AMOLED displays - ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz. Running OLEDs at low refresh rates when possible can reduce the power consumption of the display (over all applications) by up to 22%.
This new display technology was applied for the first time in the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G smartphone, announced earlier this month, with its 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED.
Samsung announced several new OLED devices yesterday. We'll start with the new Galaxy Note 20 which sports a 6.7-inch 1080x2400 HDR10+ Super AMOLED Plus display (which could mean this is an RGB display, not a Pentile one). The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a larger 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED. The display supports a refresh rate of 120Hz at Full-HD resolution and 60Hz at QHD. According to the Elec in Korea, the Note 20 Ultra display has an LTPO backplane (which Samsung calls HOP).
Next up is the company's 2nd generation Galaxy Z Fold 2 that is an update to the original fold with a larger internal foldable display at 7.6" 1768x2208 HDR10+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED and also a larger 6.23" 816x2260 Super AMOLED cover display. The Fold 2 also improves the hinge design and sports an ultra-thin-glass cover (like the Galaxy Z Flip).
Earlier this year, reports from Korea suggested that Samsung Electronics is looking to order some OLED panels from China's BOE - including for its flagship S21 smartphone to be announced later this year.
A new report from Korea's DDaily suggests that BOE failed to pass Samsung's display quality test. Samsung Electronics is likely to retain Samsung Display (partly owned by SE) as an exclusive AMOLED supplier for its 2020-2021 smartphones.