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:
A YouTube technology reviewer Bon Wulff has performed a five-months long test of its Nintendo Switch OLED console, trying to estimate the burn-in problem in the device's AMOLED display. He used a static image, running it for hours, checking for any visible burn-in issues.
It turns out that it took 3,600 hours of nonstop projection of the single image for the AMOLED to exhibit any visible burn-in problems. This is an extreme test, which is a great testament to the durability of modern AMOLED displays, and a great reassurance to all the consumers who are worried about OLED display burn-in.
In 2016, Researchers from Japan's Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) announced a new OLED device architecture, called ExTET ('exciplex–triplet energy transfer'), that can increase the performance of OLED devices. The technology was applied for a patent in 2011.
The ExTET technology, which is a modification of the host material and the EML layer in phosphorescent OLED devices, have since been introduced to commercial AMOLED panels, increasing the efficiency and lifetime of the materials, while also lowering the drive voltage.
During the Mobile World Congress, many smartphones were announced (and some already released) that use AMOLED displays. Here's the current list of phones we added to the OLED phone database, although we're sure more phones will surface soon:
- Oppo Find X5 / X5 Lite / X5 Pro
- TCL 30/ 30+
- Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro / Poco X4 Pro
- ZTE Nubia Z40 Pro
- Honor Magic4 / Magic4 Pro
- Lenovo Legion Y90
- Oppo Reno7 Z 5G
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 11E Pro
Some of these phones use very advanced displays, for example the Honor Magic4 with its 6.81" 120Hz 1,000 nits 1224x2664 LTPO AMOLED display and the Lenovo Legion Y90 Y90 with a 6.92" 144Hz 1,300 nits 1080x2460 AMOLED.
China-based Tianma announced that it has started producing flexible AMOLED displays at its 6-Gen production line in Xiamen. This is just the first production runs, it will probably take some time for Tianma to ramp up production.
Total investment in Tianma's new fab (TM18) is estimated at $6.8 billion USD and the monthly capacity will be 48,000 6-Gen substrates. The company says that this is the largest flexible AMOLED production line in China, and it is also the largest ever investment in Xiamen's history.
According to ETNews, BOE reduced its AMOLED production for Apple to about 2-3 months in February and March, down from around 9-10 million units it originally planned to produced, as the company failed to secure enough driver ICs.
ETNews says that LX Semicon (previously Silicon Works) cannot supply BOE with enough driver chips. Most of the company's chips will be supplied to LG's OLED panels.
Samsung launches its latest flagship phones and tablets, the Galaxy S22 series and Galaxy Tab S8 series
Samsung launched a new range of mobile devices, most of which feature AMOLED displays. The new smartphone range starts with the Galaxy S22 which sports a 6.1" 120Hz 1300 nits 1080x2340 Dynamic AMOLED 2X, and the Galaxy S22+ which offers similar specifications but with a larger 6.6" AMOLED which is also brighter at 1,750 nits.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra features a 6.8" 120Hz 1750-nits 1440x3080 Dynamic AMOLED 2X, and also stronger specifications, including up to 1TB of storage, 12GB of RAM, a quad camera setup with a main 108MP sensor and an S Pen stylus.
TCL subsidiary CSoT is, according to report from Korea, interested in becoming an AMOLED panel supplier for Apple's iPhones.
CSoT has shipped sample panels to Apple, produced at its T4 OLED fab in Wuhan. If Apple's review is positive, CSoT will invest in a demo line for Apple, implementing new technologies required by Apple.
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.