Article last updated on: Jan 15, 2019

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 produced in 2018 - 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 starting to adopt 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 - the flexible 5.8" 1125x2436 OLED (made by SDC) used by Apple's iPhone Xs is considered the best mobile display ever produced.



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

Further reading

The latest smartphone OLED news:

BOE plans to become the world's leading flexible OLED maker by 2024

BOE says that its current flexible OLED market share is around 20%. The company says that it plans to increase its market share to 40% by 2024 - and become the world's leader in flexible OLED production by then. BOE estimates that the flexible OLED market will generate $49.7 billion in revenues in 2024.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

Earlier this month BOE announced that it shipped 16 million flexible OLEDs in the first half of 2020, and the company expects to ship over 40 million panels in the whole of 2020. BOE main problems currently lie with its Huawei account - the Chinese smartphone maker is expected to producing only 50 million smartphones in 2021 - down from 190 million in 2020. BOE hopes to recoup some of its Huawei orders by becoming an OLED supplier to Apple.

Samsung Electronics collaborates with Corning on Ultra Thin Glass technology for foldable OLEDs

Samsung started to adopt ultra-thin glass covers for its foldable AMOLEDs, instead of polyimide, as it says UTG offers higher durability. In the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung used a UTG cover produced by Korea-based Dowoo Insys, who processes Schott's ultra thin glass for Samsung Display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip photo

In April 2020 it was reported that Samsung Electronics wants to develop its own UTG cover technology, as as it feels that Samsung Display's UTG is still not robust enough and the company also wants to increase production yields and reduce costs. Now there are new reports from Korea that say that Samsung Electronics is collaborating with Corning in this new UTG project.

OLED Automotive Market Report

ZTE launches the world's first smartphone with an under-the-OLED camera, the Axon 20 5G

ZTE announced the Axon 20 5G, the first smartphone with an under-the-OLED camera. The Axon 20 5G features a full-screen 6.92-inch 1080x2460 90Hz AMOLED display and will ship in a few days in China for around $320.

ZTE Axon 20 5G photo

The Axon 20 5G also sports an under-the-display fingerprint sensor - and ZTE says that it includes an "under-the-OLED" sound, which could mean that the OLED acts as a speaker membrane (in a similar way to LG's Crystal Sound Technology), but it is not clear exactly.

Xiaomi to start making smartphones with Under-Display cameras next year, developed its own pixel scheme

Xiaomi announced that it will start producing smartphones that adopt the company's Under-Display Camera technology next year. Xiaomi says that this is actually the company's third-gen under-the-OLED camera technology, that hasn't been adopted in mass market products yet.

Xiaomi 3rd-gen under-display camera technology image

Xiaomi says that it's latest development enabled the front camera to be completely disguised. This was achieved by a new pixel arrangement (with a large aperture ratio) developed by Xiaomi, and the optimization of the camera algorithms.

UBI: rigid OLED smartphone shipments dropped by 40% in Q2 2020

UBI Research estimates that OLED smartphone display shipments reached 87 million units in Q2 2020 (down 23.1% compared to Q2 2019, and down 17% compared to Q1 2020).

OLED smartphone shipments (Q2 2019 - Q2020, UBI research)

The drop in rigid OLED smartphone display shipments was 40.3% from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 - due to a drop in mid-tier smartphone production in China. Flexible OLED shipments actually rose 38% from last year as you can see in the chart below.

DisplayMate: the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has the best AMOLED display ever

Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra smartphone, with a 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED with an LTPO backplane. The display supports a refresh rate of 120Hz at Full-HD resolution and 60Hz at QHD. The Galaxy Note family will ship on August 21 2020.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra photo

The display measurements experts at DisplayMate tested a Note 20 Ultra phone, and reports that Samsung again improved its OLED display performance (it "raises the bar significantly higher", in fact) and this high performance display will be the competitive baseline for all upcoming smartphone displays.

Samsung announces a new variable refresh rate technology for its latest AMOLED displays

Samsung Display announced a new OLED technology, called Adaptive Frequency that enables variable refresh rate in AMOLED displays - ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz. Running OLEDs at low refresh rates when possible can reduce the power consumption of the display (over all applications) by up to 22%.

Samsung Variable Refresh Rate OLED Technology testing

This new display technology was applied for the first time in the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G smartphone, announced earlier this month, with its 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED.

Samsung launches several new AMOLED devices, including the Note 20 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung announced several new OLED devices yesterday. We'll start with the new Galaxy Note 20 which sports a 6.7-inch 1080x2400 HDR10+ Super AMOLED Plus display (which could mean this is an RGB display, not a Pentile one). The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a larger 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED. The display supports a refresh rate of 120Hz at Full-HD resolution and 60Hz at QHD. According to the Elec in Korea, the Note 20 Ultra display has an LTPO backplane (which Samsung calls HOP).

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra photo

Next up is the company's 2nd generation Galaxy Z Fold 2 that is an update to the original fold with a larger internal foldable display at 7.6" 1768x2208 HDR10+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED and also a larger 6.23" 816x2260 Super AMOLED cover display. The Fold 2 also improves the hinge design and sports an ultra-thin-glass cover (like the Galaxy Z Flip).

Samsung reports its Q2 2020 financial results, sees full-fledged mobile display recovery only in Q4 2020

Samsung reports a large increase in its profit in Q2 2020 - as the COVID 19 pandemic increases demand for memory chips, and also as a result of a one-time $950 million penalty payment from Apple following lower OLED orders.

Samsung Galaxy A21 photo

Samsung's net profit in Q2 2020 totaled $4.67 billion (an increase of 7% from Q2 2019), while its revenues were $44.4 billion (down 6% from last year).

LGD reports its financial results for Q3 2020, with lower demand for OLED TVs and pOLEDs

LG Display reported its financial results for Q2 2020 - with revenues up 12% over last quarter, as the company enjoyed an increase in demand for IT panels (monitors, notebooks, tablets). But lower demand for TVs and lower utilization at its POLED fabs increased LGD's operating loss.

LGD P10 OLED fab, Paju Korea (March 2019)

LG Display says it expects its Q3 revenues and operation profit to improve - as mass production of OLED TV panels in Guangzhou finally started, and the company will ship pOLED panels to Apple's iPhone 12 in the next quarter. LG maintains its 4.5-5 million OLED TV panel shipment forecast for the whole of 2020.

Atomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processesAtomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processes