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:

Apple announces its 2019 iPhone and Watch lineup

Yesterday Apple announced its 2019 iPhone and Watch Lineup - with all the devices but one with OLED displays. We'll start with the iPhone 11 Pro which uses a 5.8" notch-type 2436x1125 (458 PPI) AMOLED display and features Apple's latest A13 Bionic chip, 64/256/512GB of storage, a triple camera setup, HDR, FaceID - and is water and dust resistant.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is quite similar, but it offers a bigger display - a 6.5" 2688x1242 AMOLED (same PPI - 458). Both phones will ship on September 20. The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 while the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099.

OLED Handbook

Samsung to start shipping the Galaxy Fold in Korea tomorrow

In April 2019, after early reviewers reported that that the foldable screen in their Galaxy Fold devices broke down after a day or so, Samsung decided to delay the release of its foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. The company finally announced that it will start shipping the Galaxy Fold tomorrow, on September 6. Samsung will start rolling out its first foldable smartphone soon in more countries, including Europe and the US.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

It took Samsung around three months to re-design the phone and fix all the issues. Samsung updated the design and also upgraded the construction to better protect the device from external particles. Samsung also took the time to improve the user interface of its new, and optimized more apps and services for its unique foldable UX.

BOE shipped 9.1 million AMOLED displays in H1 2019, warns of weak flexible OLED demand

BOE says that it shipped 9.1 million AMOLED displays in the first half of 2019 - better than expected as Huawei increased its OLED penetration to 24% in Q2 2019 (up from 9% in Q2 2018). BOE though warns of weak demand for flexible OLEDs and the company lowered its 2019 fully-year guidance to 30 million units (down from 30-50 million).

BOE further announced that it will delay the phase 3 of its Chengdu B7 6-Gen OLED fab due to the weak flexible OLED demand. CLSA estimates that BOE ships more than 60% of Huawei's flexible OLED displays. Over 90% of BOE's OLED revenue is attributed to Huawei, but BOE aims to add one or two new customers starting in Q4 2019.

A leaked slide shows TCL is planning a foldable OLED smartphone for 2020

A leaked TCL smartphone roadmap shows that the China-based phone maker is planning to release a foldable AMOLED smartphone called FlexTab towards the end of 2020. The company is also aiming to release phones with edge-type flexible OLEDs earlier in the year.

TCL 2020 smartphone roadmap leaked slide
We do not know if this leaked image is authentic, but we do know that TCL demonstrated several foldable OLED prototypes earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress.

A report from Korea suggests that LGD will produce 10% of Apple's next-gen iPhone OLEDs displays

According to a report from Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, LG Display has passed Apple's quality requirements and has started to produce AMOLED displays for Apple's next generation iPhone, to be announced in September.

Apple iPhone XS photo

According to JoongAng Ilbo, Apple aims to ship around 65 million units of its new smartphones, and has contracted LGD to produce between 6 to 7 million panels, around 10% of Apple's total needs. The rest will be produced by Samsung Display. LGD will produce the displays at its E6 production line in Paju, Korea.

Huawei delays its foldable OLED Mate X smartphone again, will ship by November 2019

In February 2019 Huawei launched its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei originally said it will launch the Mate X by the end of June, but Huawei later said it plans to release it in September and now the company again delays the launch saying that the phone will launch by November.

Back in June Huawei said that it needs more time to test the device and make sure it is durable. It is likely that Huawei is still testing the device - or that Huawei did find some problems and now needs to fix these. It is also possible that the US ban on Huawei is behind this decision. In an

Samsung releases a nice infographic describing the advantages of its latest AMOLED display

A couple of weeks ago Samsung announced its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 10, with its 6.3" 2280x1080, 401 PPI, Dynamic Infinity-O AMOLED display (6.8" 3040x1440, 498 PPI, on the Note 10+). The company released this nice infographic that details the new AMOLED display (click on it to see a larger version):

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 display infographic

DisplayMate tested the new display, and says that this is the world's best smartphone display. The Note 10+ OLED sets 13 new display performance records - including the world's highest absolute color accuracy and highest peak brightness (at 1,308 nits).

Samsung says pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 10 already passed 1.3 million in Korea

Samsung's will start shipping the Galaxy Note 10 in a couple of days, but the smartphone is available for pre-orders and Samsung announced that pre-orders in Korea alone already passed 1.3 million. This is double the pre-orders of last year's Galaxy Note 9.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 photo

The most popular model in Korea is currently the 256Gb Galaxy Note 10+. The Note 10 features a 6.3" 2280x1080, 401 PPI, Dynamic Infinity-O AMOLED display (6.8" 3040x1440, 498 PPI, on the Note 10+) with an under-the-display fingerprint sensor. Displaymate says that this is the world's best smartphone display ever.

Apple may adopt BOE's flexible AMOLEDs for future iPhones starting in 2020

Back in early 2017 it was reported that Apple is in discussions with BOE Display to supply OLED displays for future iPhones. Up until now Samsung was the exclusive iPhone AMOLED supplier, but a new report from Japan suggests that BOE and Apple's talks are still ongoing.

In fact the Nikkei Asian Review says that Apple is "aggressively testing" BOE's flexible AMOLED displays. The NAR claims that Apple will decide whether to add BOE as a supplier by the end of 2019. Such a deal will be a great step forward for BOE toward its goal to become a leading AMOLED supplier.