The OLED Handbook, 2014 edition

I'm happy to announce the fourth edition of The OLED Handbook, the most comprehensive resource on OLED technology, industry and market - now updated for 2014. The OLED industry still grows and changes very fast, and the new edition include new details the OLED TVs and flexible OLEDs, in-depth look into encapsulation technologies and of course many updates on the OLED display and lighting markets. The book includes over 40 new companies and has a better organization.

Reading this book, you'll learn all about:

  • OLED technology and materials and production processes
  • How OLEDs compare to LCD and Plasma displays
  • OLED TVs, flexible OLEDs and transparent OLEDs
  • The OLED lighting industry
  • The future of OLED displays and lighting and the challenges ahead

Samsung Display to build a new flexible OLED production line by the end of 2014

According to reports from Korea, Samsung Display decided to build a new flexible OLED production line (the A3 fab) that will start producing panels towards the end of 2014, or early in 2015. Reportedly Samsung realized it cannot afford to delay its entry into the flexible OLED market. The A3 line will also be used to produce OLED TV panels.

Samsung also sees a market saturation in high-end smartphones, and sees new designs with flexible OLEDs as a way to innovate and increase their market share. Reportedly Samsung aims to adopt those flexible OLEDs in the GS6 and Note 5 in 2015 - and this means that they will need to start producing panels a few months before the phones are shipping. Earlier today I posted that Samsung says that the Note 4 will use a "new form" - but it's not likely that it will use a flexible OLED panel.

LG's OLED TV production yields improving?

CNet Australia posted an article on LG's OLED TV, and they interviewed LG's Australia general manager of marketing, Lambro Skropidis. As we already know LG is taking the lead in OLED TVs, offering more models, larger panels and cheaper prices than Samsung.

Much has been written on LG's WRGB (white OLED with color filters) approach that is easier to scale. Indeed Lambro confirms that the company is seeing better yields, and in fact he states that he "feels like LG 'cracked the code' on OLED TV production efficiency.".

MBraun and Beneq to jointly develop turn-key OLED R&D systems

MBraun and Beneq announced that the two companies joined forces to provide complete turn-key systems for OLED R&D. The two companies will tailor R&D systems for customers that need research equipment int he areas of thin-film encapsulation and inert-gas glove box technologies.

MBraun Beneq OLED R&D turn-key system photo

OLED encapsulation is a hot topic, with several companies including Veeco, Beneq and Encapsulix developing and supplying ALD-based solutions. In October 2013 we published an interview with Beneq's technical sales Director.

Visionox's new Z-Type AMOLED RGB sub-pixel arrangement reaches 570 PPI

Visionox developed a new RGB pixel arrangement for OLED technologies that allowed them to reach 570 PPI. The company refers to this new technology as Z-Type arrangement and it includes 3 sub-pixels (RGB) per pixel (unlike Samsung's Pentile displays). The sub-pixels are densely packed (the aperture ratio seems very high) in a way that does not suffer from jagged edges.

Visionox told me that they cannot yet say when such displays can be commercialized, as there are still manufacturing challenges to overcome. In the meanwhile the company applied for both Chinese and international patents.

Samsung sees the GS5 outselling the GS4, says the Note 4 will have a "new form factor"

Samsung launched the GS5 last week, and it seems that the company's new flagship phone is off to a good start. Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung's product strategy team says that the new phone is selling faster than the GS4, and they said that while the GS4 sold 10 million units in 27 days, the GS5 will do "significantly better". The first-day GS5 sales in the US were up 30% compared to the GS4.

The GS5 uses a 5.1" FHD (432 PPI, Diamond Pixel) Super AMOLED display which at first seemed quite similar to the 5" FHD display on the GS4, but according to DisplayMate, the display is far superior in many aspects, and it's actually the best mobile display ever.

UBI Research sees the AMOLED market declining in 2014, but resuming fast growth in 2015.

UBI Research says that the OLED market will actually decrease by 24% in 2014: from $8.8 billion in 2013 to $6.7 billion in 2014. But in 2015 the market will resume its fast growth and in 2017 the market will reach over $27 billion (up 61% from 2016). UBI also sees the market reaching over $75 billion in 2020.

UBI sees most of the growth coming from high-priced flexible OLEDs and of course OLED TVs (UBI sees 2017 as the year when the OLED TV market finally emerges). The negative growth in 2014 will be due to the general slowdown in the smartphone market.

DisplaySearch: OLED material revenue growth to be lower than expected

DisplaySearch says that the OLED industry's material growth is going to be lower than expected due to high manufacturing cost, delays in OLED TV and "very few breakthroughs in AMOLED displays". DisplaySearch now estimates the total material market in 2014 to reach $795 million (previously they estimated it to reach over $1 billion).

According to DisplaySearch, in 2014 the material market will grow 77% and in 2015 it will again grow by 70%. Growth will be much slower in 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, in 2014 the green emitter and host materials (EML) will grow by 228%. I think the reasoning is that Samsung will convert more lines to PHOLED greens (which cost more than fluorescent green). This is good news for Universal Display. In addition, it seems that blue EML costs will not grow much which probably means DisplaySearch is not seeing blue PHOLED adoption at all.

Samsung is unlikely to abandon the OLED TV market

In the past week (while I was skiing in France with my 2 daughters), several tech blogs reported that Samsung "pulled out of the OLED game altogether" as LG is set to lead the OLED TV market.

While I agree that LG is currently leading the OLED TV market (I have already posted on this in January), it hardly seems as if Samsung abandoned OLED TVs. In fact, the original Korea Herald article (which spurred all those other posts) said that "Samsung is not scheduled to unveil curved OLED TVs this year because of its continued focus on UHD TVs and its low yield rate". While this may be true, it does not mean that the company completely stopped developing OLED TVs.

The EPO upheld one of UDCs basic PHOLED patents (EP870)

The European Patent Office (EPO) ruled to upheld one of Universal Display's key PHOLED patents (EPO#EP1394870). This patent, which UDC refers to as EP870, details an OLED in which the emissive layer contains phosphorescent dopant compounds. This patent corresponds to the company's US'238 patent.

In November 2013, the Japanese High Court decided to validate UDC's claims in Japanese patent #4511024, which is a counterpart patent to the EP870 and US238 patents. Later in November, The EPO revoked one of UDC's basic phosphorescent OLED patents, EPO#1449238. The opposing parties included Sumitomo Chemical, Merck and BASF.