What can we expect from CES 2014?

In January 7 CES 2014 will begin, and it'll be very interesting to see what kind of new OLED products and prototypes will be launched during this exciting event. Highlights from CES 2013 included LG's OLED TV launch, Samsung's YOUM flexible OLED launch and 4.99" FHD mobile OLED (which was later adopted in the GS4) - and finally Sony's and Panasonic's 56" 4K OLED prototypes.

But what should we expect from CES 2014? So first, let's look at OLED TVs. LG and Samsung are bound to show their current flat and curved 55" OLED TV products at CES, and LG will most likely bring their 77" curved UHD OLED prototype, but we do not expect them to launch this as a product yet. The two Korean companies are quite likely though to unveil ready-to-market 4K OLED TVs, curved and flat. Samsung already showed a 55" 4K OLED prototype at IFA 2013.

Digitimes: SDC to increase OLED production capacity by 33% in 2014

Digitimes posted an article today in which they expect Samsung Display to increase its AMOLED production capacity in 2014 by 33%. Samsung's currently makes 140,000 5.5-Gen substrates each month (up 30,000 compared to 2012). Digitimes estimates that by the end of 2014 SDC's capacity will grow to 177,000.

During Samsung's analyst day last month, the company estimated that 2014's OLED revenues will grow about 27% compared to 2013 (see chart above). We heard reports that SDC will cut OLED prices by 10% or so, so perhaps it makes sense that Samsung will increase capacity by 33%, average panel size and resolution and features will probably increase, but panel prices will actually drop in 2014.

Apple patents new flexible wraparound display designs

Apple has busy patenting several new OLED and flexible display patents lately. In June 2012 the company filed for a new patent in Europe that describes several new technologies for a future iPhone device - mainly a wraparound flexible transparent display that enables new form factors, aided with an alumina powder liquid-metal process.

The main invention is an electronic device that has a 'hollow display cover structure'. The device is like a long tube (or cylinder, or other shapes) that has a wraparound transparent flexible display. Apple also describes some applications that can take advantage of these new displays and designs - a stock ticker, gaming, news, and more.

Sony and panasonic cancel their OLED joint-development project

In June 2012, Sony and Panasonic announced that two companies will jointly develop technologies for OLED TV panels mass production. Now the two Japanese companies announced that they canceled the joint development. The two companies will continue to develop OLED technologies independently, but will focus on UHD LCDs. Sony and Panasonic explains tha OLED TVs did "not deliver the growth originally envisioned, and are unlikely to be commercially viable in the near future.

Sony 56-inch 4K OLED TV prototypeSony 56-inch 4K OLED TV prototype

In January 2013 (during last year's CES event), the two companies unveiled 56" 4K OLED TV prototypes. The Oxide-TFT substrate was produced by AUO. We know that Panasonic used an ink-jet printing process, Sumitomo's PLED materials and a direct-emission architecture. Sony used their own Super Top Emission OLED technology and evaporable OLED materials.

Business Korea - Samsung to lower AMOLED production, and focus on mid-range phones

According to Business Korea, Samsung Electronics is going to focus on mid-market LCD handsets in 2014, and in an effort to bring costs down they will adopt LCD panels in more phones. Samsung Display will reduce AMOLED production and increase LCD panel production. SDC was also asked to reduce OLED prices by "at least 10%".

The article says that the high-end smartphone market is saturated and Samsung wants to focus on emerging markets such as India and China. This can be a disturbing report for the OLED industry, but it doesn't have to be so. Samsung made it clear several times that it sees OLED as the future display technology, and it plans to adopt OLEDs in its high-end devices. It is putting a special emphasis on flexible displays - and in fact it sees flexible OLEDs adopted by 40% of their mobile phones by 2018.

Samsung reportedly starts producing 560 ppi 5.25" AMOLED panels for the GS5

Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S5 in a few months, and there are many rumors regarding this upcoming phone. The latest report from Korea says that SDC started producing 5.25" WQHD (2560x1440, 560 PPI) AMOLED panels that will be used in the GS5. The display uses the same Diamond Pixel arrangement as in the GS4.

Samsung GS4

Earlier rumors suggested that Samsung will adopt a flexible YOUM OLED for a premium version of the GS5. As a reminder, the flexible OLED in the Galaxy Round (which can be considered a Note 3 variant) is not a YOUM display as it is uses a glass cover.

LG's curved OLED TV now down to $8,499 in the US

A few days ago LG slashed the price of their 55" curved OLED TV in the UK by 40% from £7,999 to £4,999 (about $8,100). I estimated that LG will soon drop the OLED TV price in the US, and indeed today Amazon lowered the price to $8,499, and also threw in a $500 promotional credit.

I actually hoped that LG will drop the price to around $6,000. Well, I guess we may have to wait to 2014 when LG's upcoming M2 Gen-8 OLED TV fab.

Ignis finally starts shipping 55" AMOLED Maxlife demonstrators to display makers

A couple of months ago Ignis Innovation announced that they began producing some 55" OLED TV evaluation samples for display makers to test their MaxLife compensation technology. Now the company finally started shipping orders to customers (display makers and OEMs). Ignis hopes that display makers will adopt their technology for TV, mobile and tablet OLED displays.

According to IGNIS, this panel offers the world's lowest power consumption (20% lower than LG and Samsung's current OLED TVs), longest lifetime (a significant boost over existing OLED panels) and their technology can improve production yield and so lower production costs.

Fluxim updates its OLED/OPV simulation software and all-in-one measurement platform

Fluxim released a new version (3.4) of its setfos simulation software used to study OLEDs and OPVs. The new version 3.4 is a major improvement with respect to drift-diffusion modeling and light-outcoupling simulation. Some of the major improvements are:

  • Modeling of electrical impedance spectra in the presence of charge traps
  • Improved convergence for the steady-state drift-diffusion solver
  • Improved heterojunction interface model
  • Light extraction from arbitrary stacks of coherent and incoherent layers

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDsCambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDs