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:
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.
Samsung Display announced that it has employed new materials in its latest OLED stack that enables the display to be 16% more efficient compared to its currently OLEDs. The first phone to adopt the new OLED materials will be the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
SDC did not reveal much about the new materials beyond saying that the new architecture "speeds up electron flows in the display’s organic layers". SDC says it uses a new OLED material, which seems to have been developed in-house (although SDC also says it has been 'closely collaborating with global material companies' to increase its competitive edge). SDC holds over 5,000 OLED material patents.
Samsung Display announced it will start to produce 90Hz OLED laptop displays by the end of the first quarter of 2021. The first display panel to support this new refresh rate will be 14-inch in size
SDC hopes that its new AMOLED display panels will introduce a 'major shift' in the laptop market. It believes that even though a 90Hz display will require a high-end graphics card, consumers will demand the new display as the experience benefits will be impressive. Samsung says that its 90Hz OLEDs will be on par with 120Hz LCDs in terms of moving images blur.
Chinese EV producer NIO introduced its latest electric car, the ET7, which will come with a 12.8-inch 1728x1888 AMOLED display.
The ET7 includes other innovative technologies, such as AI, over 11 cameras and sensors integrated into the body, advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving platform and a 600 miles driving range. The ET7 will sell in China and Europe.
Market research company Omdia says that at the end of 2020, 62.8% of all smartphones use OLED panels, while 31.8%, use LCDs (I'm not sure about the rest of the smartphones, maybe some use E Ink displays but not all the rest of the missing 5.4% in Omdia's summary.
Omdia further estimates that SDC's smartphone OLED panel sales will exceed $5 billion in Q1 2021, a 30% increase over Q1 2020.
Earlier this month Visionox announced that it lighted up its 6-Gen flexible OLED production line in Hefei, Anhui, China. The company is quickly ramping up its production capacity and is also planning a fourth panel production line in Chengdu.
China-based OLED maker Visionox announced that it lighted up its 6-Gen flexible OLED production line in Hefei, Anhui, China. The company will hold a ceremony on December 7th.
Visionox's new production line (its second 6-Gen line) will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 1500x1850 mm substrates, similar to the company's first line in Hebei. Total investment in the new production line will be $6.3 billion.