Article last updated on: Jan 29, 2019

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.

Royole FlexPai developer device photo

AMOLEDs today

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.

Samsung GS6 and GS6 Edge photo

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.



2 color 0.96-inch PMOLED

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.

Transparent AMOLEDs

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.

OLED-Info offers the OLED Marketplace, the world's most comprehensive OLED catalog. Just browse the available panels, and let us help you secure the best supplier for your needs.

The latest AMOLED news:

Xiaomi shows the fold-around Mi Mix Alpha concept smartphone in its HK store

In September 2019 Xiaomi unveiled a new "concept" smartphone, the Mi Mix Alpha, which uses a foldable OLED screen wrapped around the phone. Xiaomi said this phone will be produced in small quantities (with a price tag of around $2,800) and indeed it is now displaying it in its shop in Hong Kong:

The AMOLED display, produced by Visionox, is 7.92" in size with a resolution of 2088x2250 (388 PPI).

ETNews: Samsung and LGD to supply Apple with its iPhone OLEDs in 2020

Korean site ETNews says that Apple will release three new iPhone models in 2020 - all with OLED displays. There will be a 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7" models.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

For the 5.4" and 6.7" models, Apple will rely exclusively on Samsung Display for its AMOLED displays - and will adopt Samsung's Y-OCTA technology (on-cell touch) which enables thinner panels. ETNews says that SDC offered great terms for Apple to secure the 2020 exclusivity.

BOE sets ambitious OLED targets for 2020 - at least 70 million AMOLED panels

BOE held its annual Innovation Partner Conference in Beijing, and the company's chairman said that the company aims to produce at least 70 million flexible AMOLED panels. This is a sharp increase from what BOE estimated only last month.

Huawei Mate X folding photo

BOE has been known to make aggressive targets - it first aimed to produce 30-50 million AMOLED panels in 2019, but eventually the number of panels in 2019 will be around 20 million.

China's Anhui Province to estabilsh a display cluster with a focus on AMOLED technologies.

The local government at Shucheng, Anhui Province, China, has launched a new five year initiative where one of the goals is to establish a display industry cluster with a focus on OLED technologies.

Shucheng AMOLED touchscreen project ceremony photo

According to a report from China, the first major display project within the initiative involves the establishment of an AMOLED touchscreen production base - as Shucheng aims to become the world's largest producer of OLED touchscreens.

Huawei to ship the Mate X foldable OLED smartphone on November 15, announced the Mate Xs

In February 2019 Huawei announced its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei hoped to launch it in the summer of 2019, but it faced several delays. Yesterday Huawei finally announced that the Mate X will start shipping on November 15th.

The price of the Mate X will be 16,999 Yuan (around $2,400) - even higher than Samsung's $2,000 Galaxy Fold. Obviously this is a premium device for early adopters. The 8" foldable AMOLED display is produced by BOE.

Has Samsung developed its own LTPO OLED technology?

Apple developed its LTPO backplane technology for OLED displays to enable power saving of around 5-15% compared to LTPS AMOLEDs. LTPO was adopted in Apple's Watch Series 4 and Watch Series 5 smart watches - with the panels produced by LG Display using Apple's technology and IP.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 photo

According to a new report from Korea, Samsung has recently developed its own brand of LTPO backplane technology and has started to produce such panels - which are adopted by the company's latest smart watch, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (which recently started shipping). The watch has a 1.2" 360x360 or 1.4" 360x360 round AMOLED displays.

Samsung to supply Apple with 40-50 million iPhone OLED displays in H2 2019

According to a new report from Korea, Samsung Display will supply around 40-50 million flexible AMOLED displays to Apple in the second half of 2019. Apple's latest iPhone lineup was met with positive market response (this was already reported earlier this month by Bloomberg).

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

According to the report, Samsung supplied Apple with 3.9 million OLEDs in July, 8.4 million in August and 9.9 million in September. Apple's original plan was to order 6.9 million panels in September but demand was stronger than expected.

Japan Display starts to produce OLED displays, probably for Apple's watch

In April 2019 Reuters reported that Japan Display (JDI) signed a deal with Apple to supply it with AMOLED displays for its smartwatches, and today JDI's new CEO Minoru Kikuoka said that the company recently started producing OLED displays - likely indeed this is low volume production for Apple's wearables.

Apple Watch Series 5 photo

Apple's Watch Series 5 (its latest generation) features a 324x394 1000-nits always-on LTPO AMOLED display (368x448 on the 44m model). Apple is currently buying these OLED displays exclusively from LGD.