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.
According to a new report from Korea, LG Electronics is in talks with China-based BOE to supply OLED panels for future smartphones -and replace LGE's current supplier - it's sister company LG Display.
The report suggests two reasons for LG's talk with BOE. First is LG's drive to cut costs as its mobile phone business is losing massive amounts of money. The second reason is that LG Display cannot supply enough panels for LG Electronics as it still struggles with low production yields.
Bloomberg reports that Samsung Electronics completed its two-month Galaxy Fold redesign which fixed the problems that caused the foldable OLED to fail. Samsung will be able to resume production soon, but the company cannot yet commit to a new shipping date.
Samsung had to re-engineer the Galaxy Fold hinge, to help protect the OLED display, and it also stretched the protective film to wrap around the entire scree which makes it impossible to remove it (which some reviewers mistakenly did).
DSCC published an interesting note, detailing the world's top 10 devices by flexible AMOLED sales in the first half of 2019. The list contains only three vendors: Samsung, Apple and Huawei.
Total flexible AMOLED revenues for these ten devices are almost $4.7 billion, and Samsung phones account for 53% ($2.5 billion). Apple has only 2 leading models, but accounts for 30% of the revenues ($1.4 billion) and Huawei phones generated $723 million in flexible AMOLED revenues.
LG Electronics announced that its latest smartphone, the V50 ThinQ 5G is off to a great start, having sold 100,000 units in Korea in the first week following its launch. LGE says that this is more than four times than the sales of its V40 smartphone.
The V50 ThinQ 5G sports a 6.4" 1440x3120 pOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a microSD slot. LG's first 5G smartphone also offers a triple camera setup.
According to a report from Korea, when Apple secured its flexible AMOLED supply from Samsung for the iPhone X (and later XS and XS Plus) it committed to a minimum order quantity. As sales of the iPhones were slower than expected, the company did not reach its MOQ, and is now facing penalties of hundreds of millions of dollars.
It seems as if Apple is reluctant to pay the penalty (which isn't a big surprise) and is offering some alternative routes for Samsung - including the option of ordering OLED displays for future iPads or laptops (this coincides with a report from Korea last month).
JD.com, a popular online retailer in China, says that sales of the OnePlus 7 Pro are more than ten times higher than the sales of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 Plus (which has a comparable display size). JD says that there were 250,372 OnePlus units sold - compared to only 23,266 GS10+ units.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is the company's flagship smartphone that features a large 6.67" 90Hz 1440x3120 Fluid AMOLED (which is apparently a 90Hz Super AMOLED) full-screen display with an under-the-display fingerprint sensor. The GS10+ sports a 6.4" 60Hz 3040x1440 (522 PPI) Super AMOLED display.
In February 2019 Huawei launched its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei said it will launch the Mate X by the end of June, but now the company says it is now planning to release it in September.
Huawei says that it needs more time to test the device and make sure it is durable. It is also possible that the US ban on Huawei is behind this decision.
Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that he expects Apple to switch to an all-OLED iPhone lineup in 2020 - with a high-end 6.7" and 5.4" models and a lower-end 6.1" one. The higher-end modules will also support 5G connectivity.
This confirms WSJ's report from January 2019. It is estimated by most analysts taht Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup will sport similar displays to its 2018 one (i.e. OLED on high-end modules and an LCD on the lower-end one).
UBI Research estimates that OLED production capacity will increase from 34.9 million sqm to 68.5 million by 2023. LG Display and Samsung Display are expected to increase production of OLED TV and introduce new 10.5-Gen fabs better suited for 65" TV production.
Mobile OLED production capacity will also grow, but at a slower rate - from 13 million sqm in 2019 to 19.3 million sqm in 2023, mainly driven by Chinese OLED producers that produce flexible smartphone OLED displays mainly for the Chinese domestic market. Korean OLED producers (SDC and LGD) will continue to dominate the market and will retain their ~80% market share in 2023.