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:

Xiaomi: we sold over 40,000 Mi Mix Fold smartphones within one minute

At the end of last month, Xiaomi introduced its first foldable OLED device, the Mi Mix Fold smartphone, with a main 8.01-inch HDR10+ 1860x2480 AMOLED display that folds inwardly, and an external 6.52-inch 90Hz HDR10+ 840x2520 AMOLED display.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold photo

The Mi Mix Fold is now shipping in China, starting at around $1,500. According to Xiaomi, it has sold around 40,000 units in the first minute - generating over $61 million in revenue for the smartphone maker.

TCL shows a smartphone concept that includes a rollable and foldable OLED display

Chinese smartphone producer TCL unveiled an interesting new smartphone prototype (concept?) called the Fold ‘n’ Roll.

As you can see in the video, the device has a 6.87-inch OLED display when fully folded. It can open up (out-folding) into a 8.85-inch display, and then it can open even further to a 10-inch tablet-like device using a rolling mechanism. The display itself is produced by TCL's CSoT subsidiary.

OLED Handbook

LG Electronics to close its mobile phone business unit

LG Electronics announced that it will close its mobile phone business unit. LG has lost around $4.5 billion in its smartphone business over the past five years, as competition, especially from China, is strong. LG's global smartphone market share is around 2% and the company did not manage to find a buyer for its money-losing unit.

LG Wing photo

In the past few years LG aimed to focus on high-end phones with new designs, especially the Explorer series of next-generation phone designs and technologies. The first Explorer phone was the LG Wing, a unique smartphone that sports dual displays in a swivel revolving display design. The Wing sports a main 6.8-inch 2460x1080 flexible LGD P-OLED display and another 3.9-inch 1240x1080 G-OLED (LG's rigid OLED brand) display.

Here come Samsung polarizer-free POL-LESS OLEDs

Samsung Display has been developing polarizer-free AMOLED displays for many years, and last year UBI detailed how the company plans to use color filters to eliminate the need for polarizers and so increase the efficiency of their OLED panels while also lowering the thickness.

Samsung Display POL-LESS AMOLED structure image

DSCC posted an interested article that details Samsung's upcoming polarizer-free OLEDs, which it brands as POL-LESS OLEDs. The first OLEDs to adopt this new structure are expected to be adopted in Samsung's Galaxy Fold 3 later this year.

Samsung Electronics to adopt flexible OLED panels produced by BOE

In 2020 it was reported that Samsung Electronics is set to use AMOLED displays produced by China's BOE in some of its smartphones. It was later reported that BOE failed to pass Samsung's quality tests.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

According to a new report from Korea, BOE finally managed to pass Samsung's tests and is set to start supplying flexible OLEDs that will be used in Samsung's budget Galaxy M series of smartphones.

Reports suggest Apple will have to compensate Samsung again for lower OLED orders

In past years Apple had to pay millions of dollars to Samsung Display as a compensation for lower smartphone OLED orders. Apple is committed to buy a certain amount of displays, and this payment is a fine due to lower orders.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini photo

Due to lower OLED orders in 2021, analysts estimate that Apple, again, will have to compensate Samsung. The main fault is with lower sales of Apple's iPhone 12 mini. In total, according to reports, Apple reduced its OLED Orders for the iPhone 12 series by 20% to 75 million units in the first half of 2021.

Samsung Display to focus on lowering the power consumption of its smartphone AMOLED displays

Samsung Display has recently announced two design wins for its smartphone LTPO AMOLED displays - the Oppo Find X3 series and the OnePlus 9 Pro. Both adopt the same 6.7-inch 1440x3216 120Hz HDR10+ (1,300 nits peak) LTPO AMOLED display.

Oppo Find X3 Pro photo

Samsung also announced that in the past the company's priority was to improve the image quality and the design of its OLED displays. Moving forward, SDC will focus on lowering the power consumption of its OLED displays. SDC will do so by developing low-power materials and "optimizing power-efficient technologies".

Android Authority are really impressed with the foldable Huawie Mate X2

Last month Huawei started shipping its second-generation foldable smartphone, the Mate X2, and the first review, from Android Authority is in. And the reviewer really likes the device - saying it may even be better than Samsung's own foldable smartphones.

Huawei Mate X2 photo

The inner-folding 8-inch 90Hz 2480 x 2200 AMOLED is said to be beautiful, and it is completely flat when open - with a really minimal bezel that can barely be seen. According to the reviewer, that's a huge improvement over all other foldables they used. The phones feels very solid, in fact, and the hinge seems much more durable than before.

Report suggests that a global chip shortage could affect the supply of Samsung's AMOLED displays

According to reports online, there's a global chip shortage, that is already effecting some industries - and is not threatening the supply of Samsung's smartphone AMOLED displays.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini photo

It seems as if high demand for chips due to the covid-19 pandemic, a water shortage in Taiwan and heavy snow in Texas all combined to create a shortage is chip supply. Samsung's Austin plant, which makes Qualcomm chips used in AMOLED drivers, has been halted since February 16th and this creates concern for Samsung's ability to supply enough AMOLED displays to satisfy demand.

Trendforce: AMOLED displays will grab 39% of the smartphone display market in 2021

According to Trendforce, smartphone brands will increase adoption of AMOLED displays in 2021, which will lead to a 39% market share for AMOLED displays in the total smartphone display market - up from 31% in 2019.

Smartphone display market share by technology, 2019-2021, Trendforce

AMOLED displays are increasingly replacing high-end LTPS LCD displays in the high-end part of the smartphone market. The market share of lower-end a:Si LCD is quite stable.

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