Article last updated on: Feb 12, 2021

What are wearables?

Wearable computers, also called ‘wearables’, are technological devices that can be worn as clothing or accessories. Some wearables are based on relatively simple technology, similar to a scaled-down desktop computer, but some involve innovative technologies. Wearables include different products, such as fitness bands, wearable headsets, smart watches, healthcare monitoring and displays embedded in textiles.

The wearables market is diverse, but faces similar challenges like minimizing size and weight of components, deciding on optimal display location, choosing suitable services and applications to provide and balancing cost-to-price ratios.

What are OLED s?

OLED is a light-emitting diode built from thin films of organic electroluminescent material sandwiched between electrodes. OLED devices emit light when current is run through them, and are used to develop display and lighting panels. OLED screens are thinner, lighter, more efficient and offer better performance and color quality than other existing technologies.

OLEDs divide into 2 groups: AMOLEDs and PMOLEDs, which refers to how the screen is addressed by the electronics of the device. Simple wearables such as fitness bands usually adopt PMOLED displays, while smartwatches and VR headsets opt for AMOLEDs. Here's more information about AMOLED vs. PMOLED technologies.

The OLED wearables market

OLED displays are very popular in the wearables market - thanks to the great image quality, the low power consumption and to the design possibilities enabled by flexible OLEDs. Most high-end smartwatches, fitness bands and headsets adopt OLED displays. Here's our comprehensive list of wearable devices that use OLED displays.



Latest Wearable OLED news

Apple launches the iPhone 13 smartphone family and the Watch Series 7, all with AMOLED displays

Apple introduced its latest iPhones, with four models, all featuring AMOLED displays. We'll start with the iPhone 13 which features a 6.1" Super Retina 1200 nits 1170x2532 (460 PPI) AMOLED display. The iPhone 13 mini offer similar specifications, with a 5.4" 1080x2340 1200 nits AMOLED (476 PPI) displays.

Apple iPhone 13 photo

The iPhone 13 Pro features a higher-end 6.1" 1170x2532 (460 PPI) 10Hz-120Hz 1200 nits LTPO AMOLED display, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max gets a larger 6.7-inch 1284x2778 (258 PPI) LTPO AMOLED.

Samsung announces the Galaxy Fold3 and Flip3 foldable phones, and new smartwatches

Samsung announced several new OLED devices, including its two new foldable smartphones. First up is the Galaxy Z Fold3, which features a 7.6-inch 1768x2208 120Hz 1200 nits foldable Dynamic AMOLED X2 display, and a 6.2-inch 120Hz 832x2268 external AMOLED display. The foldable phone sports Samsung's first under-the-display selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy Fold3 and Flip3 photo

Samsung says that the new Galaxy Fold has an improved hinge design and is more durable compared to previous generation devices. The second phone is the Galaxy Flip3, which features a 6.7-inch 120Hz 1200 nits 1080x2640 foldable Dynamic AMOLED display, and an external 1.9" 260x512 Super AMOLED display.

OLED Handbook

Sony says its next-generation VR headset will adopt OLED displays

In 2016 Sony launched its successful Sony Playstation VR Headset, with its 5.7" FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED display. The company is getting ready to release an updated version, and during its latest developer summit, it revealed some initial details.

The new VR headset will feature OLED displays, with higher resolutions - there will be dual 2000x2040 displays. The field of view is also improved to 110-degress (up from 100 degrees in the original PSVR).

BOE shows new OLED technologies at SID Displayweek 2021

BOE demonstrates several new OLED technologies at SID Displayweek 2021. First up is a new rollable display. The new display is 8-inch in size, and it features a resolution of 2592x2176 and a bending radius of 4 mm. BOE says the new display passed over 200,000 sliding cycles.

Last year at Displayweek 2020, BOE demonstrated a 12-inch rollable OLED. It has since been working with LG Electronics on the company's rollable smartphone (which was since canceled as LG withdrew from the smartphone market) and with OPPO on a 7.4-inch sliding OLED phone.

Everdisplay's 1.6" AMOLED displays are now available at the OLED Marketplace

China's Everdisplay started to produce a new 1.6" 360x320 AMOLED display, and these are now available in the OLED Marketplace. These small OLED displays are suitable for many applications, including wearables.

If you are interested in this display for your device or new project, contact us now, or check out more information over at the OLED Marketplace. We also list many other EDO AMOLED displays, including foldable displays and laptop displays.

UBI: The OLED market grew only 0.7% in 2020, details revenue by company

UBI Research says that shipments of OLED displays reached 577.88 million in 2020, up 3.7% from 2019. Total OLED revenues in 2020 increased only 0.7% to $32.68 billion as average panel price was lower in 2020 (mostly in the smartphone market).

OLED revenue by company (2011-2020, UBI)

The main growth in the OLED industry in 2020 came from smartwatches and TVs markets. Smartphone and tablet display shipments actually decreased in 2020. In 2020, new market emerged - automotive displays, laptop displays and foldable devices.

EDO progresses towards its IPO, will use the funds to construct a new 6-Gen AMOLED fab

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.

Everdisplay display revenues by application (2017-2020H1)

The company is raising 10 billion Yuan ($1.5 billion USD) and most of these funds will be used to construct the company's new 6-Gen AMOLED line. As you can see in the image above, almost all the company's OLED panels are used in smartphones and wearables. But in 2020 the company also started to produce laptop and tablet displays - EDO recently started to make 11", 12.8" and 15.6" rigid and foldable AMOLED displays for laptop devices. We list many EDO OLED displays in the OLED Marketplace.

Kopin ships its first 720p OLED microdisplays

Kopin Corporation announced that it has shipped its first commercial order of its 0.49-inch 720p (1280x720) OLED microdisplays. The customer is a US company that will use the displays in public safety applications.

Kopin 720 Lightning OLED microdisplay photo

Kopin's 0.49-inch OLED microdisplays use the company's ColorMax technology for superb color fidelity and a duo-stack OLED structure for high current efficiency (over 10 candela per ampere).

DSCC details the OLED smartwatch panel market in 2020

DSCC posted an interesting chart that details OLED smartwatch shipments by supplier. This is an interesting market as there are almost 10 suppliers with no dominant player:

OLED smartwatch shipments by supplier (DSCC, 2017-2020)

In fact DSCC says that there are five different OLED panel makers (BOE, SDC, LGD, EDO and Truly) that each has a market share over 10% in 2020.

DSCC sees OLED revenues reaching $31.9 in 2020, Q4 will be an all-time-high

DSCC says that OLED panel revenues will reach almost $12 billion in Q4 2020 - reaching an all-time high (up 46% from Q4 2019) as all the major OLED markets, smartphones, TVs and smartwatches, saw increased demand.

OLED panel revenue 2016-2020 (DSCC, December 2020)

One of the major drivers for the increased Q4 demand was Apple's later-than-usual release date which pushed orders into Q4 from Q3, and an earlier Samsung S21 release which meant SDC started producing panels for Samsung Electronics's upcoming flagship as early as November. DSCC estimates that Apple will account for 57% of all OLED smartphone panel revenues in the quarter.

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