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:

Motorola announces the Razr 2019 clamshell foldable LGD AMOLED phone

Motorola announced the Razr 2019, a clamshell-style smartphone that features a 6.2" 2142x876 (21:9) foldable AMOLED display that folds inside. There's also a regular external 2.7" 600x800 AMOLED used when the phone is closed.

Motorola Razr 2019 photo

This seems, at least to me, to be a beautiful design which may appeal to more consumers compared to the larger foldable phones we have seen until today that open up to a tablet-style device. The Razr is also the cheapest foldable OLED phone yet announced at $1,500 (it will ship in January 2020).

BOE says it will ship around 20 million OLED panels in 2019, 40 million in 2020

China-based display maker BOE posted its financial results for Q3 2019. While BOE first hoped to ship 30-50 million OLED panels in 2019, it lowered its forecast to 30 million in August and now BOE says that it will ship around 20 million panels in 2019.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

BOE is confident, though, that it will ship at least 40 million OLEDs in 2020. BOE says that next year it will start shipments to customers outside of China (earlier this month it was reported that BOE is approaching Korean phone makers as it aims to increase its OLED customer base).

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

Samsung reports stronger OLED sales in Q3 2019

Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q3 2019 - with sales of 62 trillion Won ($53 billion USD) and an operating profit of 7.78 trillion Won ($6.6 billion USD). Samsung reported lower memory earnings - but stronger smartphone and OLED panel sales.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

Samsung Display saw increased profit from smartphone displays as demand for flexible OLED panels increased. SDC also reported improved OLED utilization rates.

Huawei to ship the Mate X foldable OLED smartphone on November 15, announced the Mate Xs

In February 2019 Huawei announced its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei hoped to launch it in the summer of 2019, but it faced several delays. Yesterday Huawei finally announced that the Mate X will start shipping on November 15th.

The price of the Mate X will be 16,999 Yuan (around $2,400) - even higher than Samsung's $2,000 Galaxy Fold. Obviously this is a premium device for early adopters. The 8" foldable AMOLED display is produced by BOE.

Samsung to supply Apple with 40-50 million iPhone OLED displays in H2 2019

According to a new report from Korea, Samsung Display will supply around 40-50 million flexible AMOLED displays to Apple in the second half of 2019. Apple's latest iPhone lineup was met with positive market response (this was already reported earlier this month by Bloomberg).

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

According to the report, Samsung supplied Apple with 3.9 million OLEDs in July, 8.4 million in August and 9.9 million in September. Apple's original plan was to order 6.9 million panels in September but demand was stronger than expected.

Google announces its latest Pixel smartphones with OLED displays

Update: Google has removed the P-OLED brand name from their web site - this could have been a mistake, and now we do not know whether these are LGD's displays or not.

Google announced its fourth-generation Android smartphone, the Google Pixel 4, that features a 90Hz 5.7" 1080x2280 (444 PPI) OLED. The Pixel 4 XL features a larger 90Hz 6.3" 1440x3040 (537 PPI) AMOLED display.

Google Pixel 4 photo

Display measurement experts DisplayMate reviewed the display and found that it is a state-of-the-art flexible OLED display that sets or matches several records, including the highest absolute color accuracy, the lowest screen reflectance and the smallest brightness variation with viewing angle.

Samsung is ramping up its foldable OLED production. Or is it?

Samsung recently re-launched its foldable OLED smartphone, the Galaxy Fold - and the $2,000 smartphone seems to be selling well. In September it was reported that Samsung is seeing strong demand in Korea, and now there is a report from Korea that Samsung Display is ramping up its foldable OLED production.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

According to the Korea Herald, SDC has produced 40,000 foldable in August, and had planned to increase that to 67,000 units in September. But it actually produced 92,000 foldable panels in September, and it plans to increase production rate to 102,000 units in October and 99,000 units in November. Samsung's foldable OLED capacity is 3,300 units per day - so it is pretty much running at full capacity now.

Japan Display starts to produce OLED displays, probably for Apple's watch

In April 2019 Reuters reported that Japan Display (JDI) signed a deal with Apple to supply it with AMOLED displays for its smartwatches, and today JDI's new CEO Minoru Kikuoka said that the company recently started producing OLED displays - likely indeed this is low volume production for Apple's wearables.

Apple Watch Series 5 photo

Apple's Watch Series 5 (its latest generation) features a 324x394 1000-nits always-on LTPO AMOLED display (368x448 on the 44m model). Apple is currently buying these OLED displays exclusively from LGD.