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:
Apple introduced its latest iPhones, with four models, all featuring AMOLED displays. We'll start with the iPhone 13 which features a 6.1" Super Retina 1200 nits 1170x2532 (460 PPI) AMOLED display. The iPhone 13 mini offer similar specifications, with a 5.4" 1080x2340 1200 nits AMOLED (476 PPI) displays.
Samsung Display has demonstrated a new stretchable AMOLED display. The 13-inch panel (we do not know the resolution) was shown in a unique 3D demo.
The idea behind the demo is that the panel reacts to the video content (flowing lava), so it changes the height of parts of the screens to make the experience more realistic, a sort of volumetric display.
DSCC says that demand for Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is very strong in Korea, with pre-orders in the first seven days reaching over 900,000 units. Demand in India is strong as well.
DSCC sees Samsung's foldable OLED production volume up dramatically from July compared to last year. In fact the volume in July was higher than the combined volume of the production in January-July 2021. From August 2021, DSCC sees production of over 1 million foldablephones per month.
INT Tech developed a 5,000 nits AMOLED microdisplay, is still on track for mass production in Q4 2021
Taiwan-based INT Tech announced that it has produced new AMOLED microdisplay samples at its $143 million fab in Taizhou in Zhejiang province, China, and the company is still on track for mass production in Q4 2021.
The new 0.7-inch INT Tech uNEEDXR display is a direct-emission display that features a brightness of over 5,000 nits, 3147 PPI and a low power consumption (less than 500mW@5000nits).
DSCC says that OLED shipments in the second quarter of 2021 rose 36% over last year (but decreased 10% compared to Q1 2021). New smartphone launches by Samsung, Apple and Google will drive the growth at the second half of 2021.
Samsung Display is still the leading smartphone OLED producer, with a market share of 73.5% in Q2 2021. BOE was at second place with a 6.7% share.
According to reports from China, TCL will start supplying smartphone AMOLED panels to Samsung Electronics. TCL is already supplying LCDs to Samsung (for both phones and TVs), but this is the first time it will supply OLEDs as well.
Samsung is looking to lower its smartphones production costs, and so it widens its OLED supply chain. Up until now, the company relied 100% on AMOLEDs produced by Samsung Display, but earlier this year it started to buy OLED panels from BOE.
DSCC updated its AMOLED material market forecast, saying that the market will reach $1.4 billion in 2021 (up 32% from 2020), and grow at a 16% CAGR from 2019 ($927 million) to 2025, to reach $2.18 billion by 2025.
DSCC takes a look into the material cost for LG Display's WOLED TV panels. LGD will likely manage to implement incremental improvements in material utilization and price, which will enable the company to almost halve the material cost of its TV panels- from $88.14 per sqm in 2019 to $47.19 per sqm by 2025.
Organic-TFT backplane/emitter developer Mattrix Technologies has demonstrated a new AMOLED display prototype that is based on an amorphous-silicon (a:Si) backplane.
Mattrix believes that its proprietary vertical, organic light-emitting transistor (VOLET) pixel technology can dramatically reduce OLED production costs and improve display quality.
According to reports, Vivo will soon release its latest IQOO smartphone (IQOO 8 Pro). The phone will use an AMOLED display produced by Samsung Display. This panel, in fact, will be the first one to adopt Samsung's latest E5 OLED stack.
We do not have any information on this new stack, but OLED companies keep improving the material stack to enable higher efficiency - and sometimes to increase the color gamut, reduce costs or improve other performance points. Hopefully Samsung will announce the E5 stack officially soon.
In early July, we published our quarterly update for our Automotive OLED Market Report. The update this time was comprehensive, as we overhauled the complete report.
The OLED Automotive market is heating up. AMOLED displays (mostly flexible ones) are finally being adopted by commercial cars, while OLED lighting panels continue to be designed into high-end automotive taillights as the ultimate lighting solution.