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:

DSSC updates its OLED industry outlook, sees an oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs till 2025

DSCC updated its capacity and demand outlook for the OLED industry. DSCC says that the oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs will continue to effect the industry for years ahead.

OLED manufacturing input area by maker (2018-2025, DSCC)
According to DSCC the reason for the oversupply is Samsung's near-monopoly on flexible OLED phone panels - and the fact that the company keeps prices high and prefers high profit margins even though it leads to low utilization rates. DSCC sees China's capacity (which includes LG's Gunagzhou fab) share to rise from 5% in 2017 to 30% in 2020 and finally to 49% in 2025.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

JOLED sues Samsung over OLED patents

JOLED announced that it has filed lawsuits in the US and Germany against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display. JOLED says that Samsung infringed on its OLED patents without a license

JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic to produce OLED displays using inkjet printing technology. The company has (or applied for) around 4,000 global OLED patents. We do know which patents JOLED refers to in its new law suit.

UBI: Samsung Display updates its A3 fab to support LTPO and Y-OCTA

Samsung Display is updating its A3 flexible OLED production line, to support two new technologies. The TFT process is being updated, for some of the capacity, to Apple's LTPO technology. LTPO is currently used in Apple's Watch displays, but next-generation iPhones will adopt it as well.

SDC A3 fab: Y-OCTA and LTPO modifications (UBI)

According to UBI, Samsung will dedicate 75,000 monthly substrates to produce smartphone LTPO displays. According to some reports, Samsung has also developed its own backplane technology which is similar to LTPO, it could be that some of this capacity will be used for Samsung's own displays.

Samsung Electronics is looking to move manufacturing out of China, may open an OLED module factory in India

According to Invest India, Samsung Electronics is looking into establishing a smartphone OLED display manufacturing fab in India's Uttar Pradesh. The facility, which will likely to be a module assembly factory, will begin operations in 2021.

Samsung Electronics is reportedly looking to remove facilities from China to other countries, including Vietnam and now India. The company aims to receive tax incentives from the Indian government towards this ~$700 million facility.

Will the Samsung Galaxy M41 use a CSoT flexible AMOLED panel?

In 2019, it was reported that Samsung Electronics is in early talks with China's CSoT for flexible OLED supply for low-end and mid-tier smartphones. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung Electronics has decided to adopt a CSoT flexible OLED panel for its upcoming budget Galaxy M41 smartphone.

Motorola Edge photo

Motorola Edge

If true, this is the first time that Samsung Electronics will adopt an OLED that wasn't produced by Samsung Display. The M41 will use a 6.67-inch 1080x2340 AMOLED, the same panel used in Xiaomi's Mi 10 and Motorola's Edge.

Visionox launches the world's first OLED to support an under-the-display camera

Chinese OLED producer Visionox launched a new under-the-OLED camera technology, branded as InV See - which is the world's first such display. The main application for this technology is to enable a selfie camera in a full-screen OLED smartphone.

InV See utilizes a transparent section in the OLED display that allows a camera to be placed behind it. Visionox says that for this technology it developed a new pixel structure, new driver circuits and used new materials.

Samsung Display's 90Hz and 120 Hz OLED certified by SGS

Samsung Display announced that its latest 90Hz and 120Hz Smartphone AMOLED displays were certified by Swiss-based SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) to be "Seamless" displays. It seems as if SDC brands these OLEDs as Seamless OLED (90hz) and Seamless Pro OLED (120Hz).

Samsung Display seamless OLED SGS performance tested

Such high refresh OLEDs are gaining in popularity for high-end smartphones, as they deliver better gaming and video experience. SDC's 90Hz OLEDs feature blue length (image drag) of less than 0.9 mm (0.7 for the 120Hz OLEDs) and a response speed (MPRT) of less than 14 ms (11 ms for the 120Hz OLEDs). Samsung says these are the best specifications in the industry.

DSCC: OLED revenues in Q1 2020 were $6.7 billion, will reach $33 billion in 2020

DSCC says that OLED revenues in Q1 2020 were $6.7 billion (up 24% from Q1 2019, but down 18% from Q4 2019). Both Samsung and BOE gained market share in the quarter, as LGD had a weak quarter.

OLED revenue share by producer (Q12018-Q12020, DSCC)

DSCC sees the entire OLED market reaching $33 billion in 2020 (up 18% from 2019). Smartphone OLED sales will reach $26.6 billion, mostly led by a growth in flexible OLED sales. The OLED TV market will grow 19% to 4 million units in 2020. DSCC sees the laptop OLED market increasing significantly in 2020.

The Elec: LG and Samsung will supply AMOLEDs to Apple's iPhone 12

The Elec reports that Apple ordered around 55 million AMOLED panels for its iPhone 12 smartphone series, which will be announced later this year. LG Display will supply around around 20 million AMOLEDs - which is a big increase from the 5 million OLEDs LGD supplied for Apple's previous generation phones.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

According to The Elec, LG will supply the panels for Apple's iPhone 12 Max (6.1"), while Samsung will supply all the panels for the iPhone 12 (5.4"), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1") and iPhone 12 Pro max (6.7").

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