Article last updated on: May 14, 2021

What is an OLED display?

An OLED display uses a new technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED screens are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than LCD or Plasma.

OLEDs are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When an electrical current is applied, a bright light is emitted. Since the OLED materials emit light, a backlight is not required (unlike LCDs).

OLEDs in mobile phones

Mobile phones that boast OLED screens are rapidly becoming more prevalent, with over 500 million AMOLED screens annually - mostly to satisfy demand from mobile phones. Samsung has been using AMOLEDs in its high-end phones for many years, and most phone makers are also adopting OLED displays (including Apple, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo, Motorola, and others).

Apple iPhone X photo

OLED displays are advancing quickly, and today smartphone AMOLED displays outperform LCDs in all parameters - except the price which is still at a premium.



For a complete list of smartphones and mobile phones with OLED displays, click here.

Further reading

The latest smartphone OLED news:

DSCC: OLED panels shipments declined 3% in Q2 2022, but revenues increased 12%

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.

OLED panel revenues and growth (2020Q2-2022Q2, DSCC)

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).

Samsung announces the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4 foldable phones, and new wearables

Samsung announced two new foldable phones, and new wearable devices. First up is the Galaxy Z Fold4 which sports a 7.6" foldable 120Hz 1200 nits 1812x2176 Dynamic AMOLED and a 6.2" 120Hz 904x2316 AMOLED 2X cover display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 photo

The Galaxy Z Flip4, the company's clamshell device,features a 6.7-inch 120Hz 1200nits 1080x2640 foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and a small secondary 1.9" 260x512 Super AMOLED display. Both phones will ship on August 25, starting at $2,000 for the Fold4 and $1200 for the Flip4.

OLED Handbook

Samsung develops a technology for AMOLED displays with multiple refresh rates

Samsung Display has developed a new technology that enables multiple refresh rates in AMOLED displays. The idea is that one can create several zones in the display, each with its own refresh rate.

Samsung Display AMOLED multiple refresh rates patent image

Driving at low refresh rates helps reduce the power consumption of the display and the new technology will be useful in scenarios in which a part of the screen needs high refresh rates (like video content embedded inside a web page).

Samsung Electronics expects to increase its foldable smartphone sales

Samsung Electronics says that it expects its sales of foldable OLED devices to increase, and even exceed its annual historic Note series sales (which is now discontinued). The company is set to start offering foldable displays in mainstream devices.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

According to IDC, Samsung shipped around 190 million Note devices in total. So far, Samsung sold just over 10 million foldable phones, since launching the original Galaxy Fold in 2019. But if we look at specific phones, the gap is not so big: The last Note device, the Note 20, sold around 12 million units. The Note 10 sold around 14 million units. According to estimates, Samsung shipped around 8 million Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3.

DSCC sees a decline in smartphone OLED shipments and revenues in 2022

DSCC estimates that OLED smartphone display shipments will decrease 5% in 2022, to 592 million units. Flexible OLED shipments will rise by 2% (and will decline 10% in terms of revenues) but rigid OLED shipments will drop 14% (and revenues will decline 32%).

Smartphone OLED display shipments flexible vs rigid (2021 Q1 - 2022 Q4, DSCC)

DSCC sees the OLED smartphone market declining 16% in 2022 to $317 billion (smartphone sales), and explains that this is due to macroeconomic headwinds, weakened consumer demand and problems with supply chains and inventories.

DSCC: the OLED market will grow 2% in 2022, led by strong demand for IT panels

DSCC estimates that the OLED market will increase 2% in 2022, to reach $42 billion. Revenues for smartphones, the leading OLED application, will actually decline by 4%, but this will be offset by increases in other applications.

AMOLED revenues by applications (2019-2022, DSCC)

In fact, some applications will experience very fast growth: OLED monitors (641% unit growth, 279% revenue growth), OLED laptops (64% units, 39% revenue) and automotive displays (73% units, 68% revenue).

Omdia: Chinese OLED makers increase their market share to over 20%

Omdia says that the market share of Korea's OLED producers, SDC and LGD is eroding, as Chinese OLED makers increase their OLED shipments. A main driver is Apple's increased iPhone AMOLED orders from BOE.

Mobile AMOLED market share by producers (2019-2022Q2, Omdia)

Omdia says that BOE's market share has increased from 5.6% in 2019 to almost 12% in 2022 (first quarter). The market share of all AMOLED makers in China is now above 20%, from from less than 10% in 2019.

BOE to supply 5% of the OLED displays used in the iPhone 14

According to reports, Apple finalized its supply plans for the iPhone 14 series, and the US phone maker decided to add BOE to its new iPhone supplier list.

Apple iPhone 12 photo

This is the first time that BOE manages to become a new iPhone supplier (the company already produces AMOLED displays for refurbished iPhones). According to the latest report, Apple ordered a total of 90 million OLED displays: 60 million from Samsung, 25 million from LGD and 5 million from BOE (which will so supply 5.5% of the total orders).

Apple finalizes its supply chain for the iPhone 14 AMOLED displays, starts ordering panels from BOE again

According to reports from Korea, Apple has started to sign agreements regarding the supply of OLED displays for the next iPhone model (iPhone 14). As always, the main supplier will be Samsung Display, which will supply 80 million units of its latest LTPO AMOLED display (M12 stack) to Apple.

Apple iPhone 13 photo

Apple is set to release four iPhone models. The iPhone 14 (6.1-inch), 14 Plus (6.7-inch), 14 Pro (6.1-inch) and 14 Pro Max (6.7-inch).

DSCC: foldable smartphone shipments to increase 107% in 2022

DSCC says that 2.22 million foldable smartphones shipped in Q1 2022, up 571% from the first quarter of 2021. In Q4 2021, however, 4.2 million units shipped (a 47% decrease).

Foldable OLED shipments and production (DSCC, 2020-2022)

DSCC estimates that a total of 16 million foldable OLED phones will ship in 2022, a 107% increase compared to 2021. In terms of OLED panels, over 20 million will be produced and shipped in 2022.

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