OLED is short for Organic Light Emitting Diode, a device composed of thin carbon-based films placed between two electrodes that creates light with the application of electricity. Unlike other screen technologies, (like LCDs), which require backlighting, OLED displays are emissive devices - they emit light rather than manipulate transmitted external light.
OLEDs provide brighter, crisper colors and contrast on electronic devices and use less power than conventional light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used today. This revolutionary technology is fit for various types of screens, like computer screens, mobile phones, tablets, TVs and more. OLED screens are light, thin, high-resolution and contain individually-lit pixels that make for true blacks and superior color contrast.
The current OLED tablet market
OLED displays are already very common on mobile phones (in fact about a quarter of all mobile phones now ship with an OLED - and that percentage is climbing as Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei and others adopt OLED displays in their best smartphones).
OLEDs are just now starting to make inroads into the tablet market, though - as these larger displays carry a high premium over competing LCDs. The leading company that produces and adopts OLEDs is Samsung, and indeed the company's latest high-end tablets all use OLED displays.
DSCC has published its latest OLED market forecast. The company raised its 2021 revenue expectations by 9% (to $42.5 billion) as it sees increased smartphone display shipments and higher OLED laptop shipments.
DSCC also increased its long term OLED revenue forecast by 11% to $60.6 billion by 2025. This is driven, again, by higher smartphone AMOLED shipments and increased adoption in IT markets (tablets, laptops and monitors).
UBI Research says that the market for medium to large OLED displays (10-inch and up, used in IT and TV applications) has risen 156% in Q1 2021 compared the Q1 2020. Total sales reached $1.45 billion in the quarter.
Most of the growth comes from TV and laptop displays. LG Display produced 1.6 million OLED TV panels in the quarter, while sales for laptops reached 1.1 million panels. TV panels accounted for the majority of sales (as average panel price is much higher) - 81.6% of the market.
Apple's latest iPad Pro tablets use a mini-LED backlit LCD (which Apple refers to as Liquid Retina XDR). This relatively new display technology is seen as a way to achieve almost OLED-quality contrast ratio and an improved power consumption as the thousands of small LEDs enable very small dimming zones.
While most reviews of the new display are quite positive, some users are complaining of "blooming" - the edges of bright objects on dark backgrounds tend to 'bleed' as the dimming zone is not small enough.
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.
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.
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.
In late 2020 several reports from Korea suggested that Apple is looking to adopt OLEDs in future iPad devices, as early as in 2022.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a usually reliable Apple analyst, Apple is looking to adopt an OLED display in the 2022 iPad Air (while the MacBook Air will start using miniLED LCDs). MiniLEDs are actually more expensive than OLEDs today (these iPad OLEDs will be the cheaper rigid variant) and so cheaper iPads or laptops will use OLEDs from 2022 and onwards, while more expensive models will opt for miniLEDs which do not suffer from burn-in.
Earlier this month we reported that China-based AMOLED producer EverDisplay (EDO) has become a public company. We have been a bit early, but the company is progressing on its IPO registration and has released some more information regarding is business.
DSCC posted an interesting post with its latest views and forecasts on the OLED material market. The company expects AMOLED stack material sales to grow at a 18% CAGR in the next five years, from $294 million in 2019 to $2.46 billion in 2024. Compared to its previous estimate, DSCC sees higher sales as demand for OLED TVs and OLEDs in the IT market (tablets and notebooks) is increasing.
DSCC also posted an analysis of LGD's new evo OLED material stack. Compared to LGD's "standard" WOLED stack, the evo adds an emitting green layer to improve the brightness by 20%. This of course adds an extra material cost to the panel price.
TCL first shows a rollable smartphone, that uses a 7.8-inch AMOLED that rolls into a 6.7-inch one. The display features a bending radius of 3 mm and CSoT says it can withstand up to 100,000 sliding cycles.
Samsung Display announced that the company plans to introduce more than 10 different AMOLED displays for the laptop market in 2021. The company will launch displays ranging from 13.3-inch to 16-inch to meet customer demand.