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:
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.
Samsung Display announced that its latest 90Hz and 120Hz Smartphone AMOLED displays were certified by Swiss-based SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) to be "Seamless" displays. It seems as if SDC brands these OLEDs as Seamless OLED (90hz) and Seamless Pro OLED (120Hz).
Such high refresh OLEDs are gaining in popularity for high-end smartphones, as they deliver better gaming and video experience. SDC's 90Hz OLEDs feature blue length (image drag) of less than 0.9 mm (0.7 for the 120Hz OLEDs) and a response speed (MPRT) of less than 14 ms (11 ms for the 120Hz OLEDs). Samsung says these are the best specifications in the industry.
The Elec reports that Apple ordered around 55 million AMOLED panels for its iPhone 12 smartphone series, which will be announced later this year. LG Display will supply around around 20 million AMOLEDs - which is a big increase from the 5 million OLEDs LGD supplied for Apple's previous generation phones.
According to The Elec, LG will supply the panels for Apple's iPhone 12 Max (6.1"), while Samsung will supply all the panels for the iPhone 12 (5.4"), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1") and iPhone 12 Pro max (6.7").
DSCC posted an interesting blog post, in which they detail what they believe to be Apple's iPhone 12 smartphone family specifications.
So we start with the iPhone 12, which will use a 5.42" 2348x1048 (476 PPI) flexible AMOLED display, produced by Samsung Display. DSCC believes the iPhone 12 will use a Y-OCTA integrated touch. DSCC believes that while BOE did not manage to get its panel to the iPhone 12, it may become a supplier in 2021 to the iPhone 12s - if all goes well with the iPhone 12 Max (see below).
China's Everdisplay has started to produce a 1.78" 368x448 AMOLED display and these are now available in the OLED Marketplace. These small OLED displays are suitable for many applications, including wearables.
Korean media reports that due to a fire at Samsung's A3 OLED production fab in Asan, the company had to shut down the production at some of the lines. Luckily, there were no casualties.
Samsung Displays says that this won't effect the supply of OLED panels, but the extent of the damage is not yet determined.
Digitimes reports that TCL's CSoT is planning to build a new flexible OLED production line in Wuhan. The T5 line is still only at an early planning stage, but investment could reach about $1.4 billion.
The T5 line will be CSoT's 2nd flexible OLED line - it's current T4 line (which has a monthly capacity of 45,000 6-Gen substrates) started production in 2019.