OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a display technology that is brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than an LCD display. OLEDs deliver the best picture quality ever and OLED displays have been used in smartphones, wearables and TVs.
Why are OLED displays better than LCDs?
- In OLED displays, each pixel emits light independently (in LCDs, there is a white backlight).
- The contrast ratio of OLEDs is much better than in LCD, so are the refresh rates and the viewing angles.
- OLEDs are thinner and lighter than LCDs, and can be made flexible, foldable, rollable and transparent.
- OLEDs are more efficient, as only lit pixels draw energy. A smart user interface can result in very power efficient OLED displays!
2019 - OLED laptops finally arrive
OLEDs are already very successful in smartphone displays (over 500 million panels produced annually, adopted in smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Sony and others), OLED TVs and wearables. While in early 2016 several laptop makers announced the first OLED laptops (such as the Lenovo X1 Yoga with its 14" 2550x1440 AMOLED and the HP Spectre X360 with its 13.3" 2560x1600 AMOLED display), these laptops were produced in small quantities and quickly discontinued.
In early 2019, Samsung finally announced it start mass producing OLED displays for laptops. Since then we have seen many laptops from HP, Dell, Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo and others adopt OLED displays, first at premium models and slowly in medium-range laptops as well. Click here for our complete list of laptops with OLED displays. Samsung, and other display makers, are expanding OLED laptop production capacity as demand for IT in general is rising and consumers prefer OLED displays.
Image retention (burn-in)?
One of the major drawbacks of an OLED display is that because each pixel is driven independently and because the lifetime of an OLED emitter is limited, OLED panels suffer from image retention (known as burn-in). A much-used pixel is less bright than a pixel that hasn't been driven a lot (for a more technical explanation, click here).
In computer user interface this is a problem - as some UI elements are quite fixed (toolbars, icons, etc). There are some technologies to handle this problem - for example by measurement and compensation, by using a tandem architecture to extend lifetime, and more. The situation has improved much in recent years, to the point where OLEDs are very much suitable as laptops displays.
The latest OLED Laptop news:
OLED driver IC developer MagnaChip has launched its first power management integrated circuit (PMIC) specifically designed for IT devices with OLED displays.
A PMIC supplies power to electronic devices, and it is an important component in mobile devices to optimize power consumption. The newly-designed PMIC communicates with a system by using an Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) interface and can control functions such as output voltage control, ON/OFF block, output voltage sequence management, and more. It supports variable refresh rate OLED displays, from 60Hz to 240Hz.
UBI Research estimates hat shipments of OLED panels for IT applications (tablets, monitors and laptops) will reach 48.8 million units by 2027, growing from around 9.5 million units in 2022 (a CAGR of 39%).
In 2022-2024, the main application for OLED panels is in laptops, but this will change from 2025 and onwards as tablets will also become a dominant applications (as Apple will start adoping OLEDs in its high-end iPads).
During Lenovo's Tech World 2022 event, the company and its Motorola subsidiary showed new device prototypes, including two interesting rollable OLED devices.
In the video above, you can see a new laptop prototype that has a rollable OLED display, that opens up to increase the screen size. There's also a smartphone that opens from a 4-inch display to a 6.5-inch one using a rollable display.
During Intel's Innovation Day 2022, Samsung Display's CEO shows a prototype rollable AMOLED laptop display that opens up from 13-inch to 17-inch:
Over the years, Intel has been working with display makers to showcase innovative new display technologies. In early 2020 the company showed a foldable 17-inch laptop device.
OLED makers are gearing up to increase production of IT OLED panels, used in laptops, monitors and tablets. Towards that, analysts expects over 10 8.5-Gen OLED lines under consideration now in the industry. This drive is led by Samsung Display that confirmed is is building a 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) OLED production line, that will begin production in 2024.
A 8-Gen (or actually 8.5-Gen) fab uses 2200x2500mm glass substrates. According to a new report in Korea, Samsung actually decided to adopt a larger glass - a 8.7-Gen 2290x2620 mm. The ~10cm increase will increase production efficiency by around 9%, but this means that current 8.5-Gen LCD equipment that Samsung hoped to use will not be usable any more.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an increased demand for high quality IT solutions, including monitors and collaborative tools, which prompted OLED display makers to start offering solutions for this market for applications like computer monitors, signage and more.
OLED displays that are 20-inch or more suffer from incompatibility with standard capacitive touch, because the thin OLED panel results in large parasitic capacitive coupling with the touch surface. The dynamic driving of OLEDs (where only lit pixels draw current) further reduces the capacitive touch performance by introducing unpredictable â€œdisplay pattern noiseâ€. These issues are easily mitigated in small area displays, but as OLEDs increase in size, the performance and costs of capacitive solutions suffer.
Last Month Samsung Display confirmed that Samsung is now building a 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) OLED production line, that will begin production in 2024.
It is expected that the new line will mostly produce panels for IT devices (laptops and tablest) and also for automotive applications. Many believe that these applications will adopt tandem stack structure to increase brightness and lifetime. According to a new report, Samsung's new line will adopt a single-stack structure, and not a dual-stack one.
UBI Research estimates that sale revenues of medium and large OLED displays (UBI defines these from 10-inch and up) rose 22.9% in Q2 2022 compared to the previous quarter and 11.2% compared to last year - to reach $1.67 billion.
In term of sales, UBI estimates that total shipments in 2022 will reach 26.3 million units. Most of the growth in 2022 will come from laptop displays - where shipments almost doubled in the second quarter to 2.18 million units.
Samsung Display's CEO Choi Joo-sun says that the company sees a great potential for OLED displays in the IT market (mainly notebook and monitor displays), and that Samsung is building a new 8-Gen (2200x2500 mm) which will begin production in 2024. The glass efficiency at 8-Gen (uncut glass) will be 20% higher compared to Samsung's 6-Gen lines.
This new fab was already reported last year, but this is the first time we officially hear a commitment from SDC. According to DSCC, there are over 10 8.5-Gen OLED lines under consideration now in the industry, as demand for OLED panels for laptops, tablets and monitors is o the rise. Samsung is the current leader in OLED IT displays.
DSCC says that in Q2 2022, OLED panel revenues increased 12% compared to Q2 2021, while shipment units declined 3%. Fewer OLEDs were shipped, but revenues increased as we've seen an increased growth in high value panels (gaming, monitors, laptops, automotive, etc) and also an improved form factor adoption in smartphones.
In Q2 2022, smartphones remained the largest OLED application with a 76% unit and revenue share. OLED smartwatches had a 16% unit share (and a 6% revenue share), and OLED TVs had a 11% revenue share (up from 8% in Q1 2022).