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 AMOLED displays?
Are you looking to buy AMOLED display for your project? AMOLEDs on the market range from small 1-inch ones for smartwatches through large OLEDs used in tablets and laptops - to large TV panels. Visit our OLED Marketplace, the world's most comprehensive OLED catalog, where you can browse the available panels, and let us help you find the best AMOLED supplier for your needs!
The latest AMOLED news:
DSCC have released their 2021 and 2022 smartphone OLED shipment estimates. In 2021, DSCC says that 644 million smartphone AMOLED displays were shipped, up 28% from 2020. Our of these 644 million panels, 42% were rigid, 55% were flexible and about 2% were foldable.
DSCC says that it has downgraded its forecast for 2022, as both Honor and Huawei will no longer adopt rigid AMOLEDs in smartphones. Total shipments will reach almost 700 million panels, and all of the growth will come from flexible and foldable panels. In fact rigid smartphone OLED shipments are expected to decline in 2022.
Towards the end of 2021 we reported that Apple plans to launch its first AR headset in Q4 2022, powered by dual 4K OLED microdisplays, produced by Sony
According to Ross Young from DSSC, Apple first headset will actually be a VR headset, that uses a foveated display system. The headset will feature three displays - two 4K microLEDs (indeed produced by Sony) and one larger AMOLED display.
According to reports from China, Visionox has finalized its LTPO R&D project and is now starting to produce LTPO OLED displays. This will enable the company to compete with Samsung and other leading OLED producers for the high-end smartphone display segment.
Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide, or LTPO, is an OLED display backplane technology developed by Apple. LTPO combines both LTPS TFTs and Oxide TFTs (IGZO, Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) to enable variable refresh rate displays, and power savings of up to 15%. LTPO AMOLED displays are widely used today in high-end smartphones and other mobile devices.
OLED displays are rapidly gaining in popularity, and are already taking over various market segments like wearables and smartphones. However, for smaller scale projects it is often challenging to find the best OLED to suit the project's needs.
OLED producers usually only sell directly to very high volume customers, relying instead on distributors and suppliers for the rest of the market. This creates a fragmented market and makes it difficult to source the right display for your next device.
Luckily, our OLED Marketplace offers device developers a wide range of OLED displays, from wearable panels, through PMOLEDs and microdisplays to high-end flexible and foldable AMOLEDs. We believe this is the world's most comprehensive OLED catalog, which makes it easier to locate the perfect next-generation display.
BOE is now mass producing flexible OLED displays in two production lines, and the company says it has shipped around 40 million OLED displays in the first three quarters of 2021. One of the company's main AMOLED customers is Apple.
A few days ago we reported that BOE started mass producing OLED displays at its 6-Gen B12 production line in Chongqing, China. With the B12 line in full capacity (expected by late 2022 or early 2023), BOE's OLED production capacity will reach 144,000 substrates.
According to a report from China, BOE will produce around 15 million AMOLED panels for Apple in 2021, or about 10% of Apple's total OLED panel orders.
BOE is supplying displays for refurbished iPhone 12 devices, and Apple is now looking into adopting BOE's panels in the iPhone 13. It is likely that the 15 million shipments estimate relies on Apple's approval of BOE's iPhone 13 panels, and even so it might be a bit optimistic that BOE will supply so many panels by year's end.
UK-based OTFT display backplane developer SmartKem announced that it has signed a joint development agreement with Taiwan-based PMOLED-maker RiTdisplay, for the production of OTFT-based AMOLED display prototypes.
SmartKem's technology could enable RiTDisplay to produce AMOLED displays at a lower cost, and, more significantly, to use its own PMOLED production line without the large investment needed for an LTPS AMOLED Line. The current agreement includes a prototype display development, it will have to be seen whether it will be expanded in the future for actual production.
A few days ago Nintendo started shipping its anticipated Switch OLED gaming console, with its 7-inch 1280x720 OLED display. The console costs $349.99, and initial reviews find the display to be an excellent improvement over the LCD used in the previous model.
This is an interesting sub-pixel structure, quite similar to the one used by the Apple Watch - and also to Samsung's S-Stripe displays (for example the one used in the Galaxy Note II). This is not Samsung's standard architecture for mobile devices, the Pentile display (or Diamond Pixel structure).
In recent months, the world is suffering from a serious semiconductor component shortage, due to several reasons that all seemed to have join forces - increased demand for IT products due to the pandemic, extreme weather conditions in the US and Asia, the US-China trade war, employee shortages, and the power grid problems that China is facing.
This semiconductor supply and demand crisis is affecting the global OLED industry. Some display makers cannot ship their displays - not because of OLED production problems, but because they cannot get enough driver ICs.
As demand for larger mobile OLED displays, for laptops, tablets and monitors is on the rise, there are reports that Samsung Display is considering building a 8.5-Gen AMOLED fab dedicated for laptop and IT displays. SDC is developing technologies to overcome the limitation in OLED deposition.
According to a new report from Korea, China's BOE and CSoT are both looking to also establish 8-Gen OLED production lines. BOE is accelerating its plans for a 2200x2500 (8-Gen) OLED deposition line, and is developing deposition technologies towards that goal. BOE's main target is to produce smartphone OLED displays, which it hopes to supply to Apple.