OLED is an emerging display and lighting technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. Thin OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs.
LG Display - pOLED displays
LG Display is one of the leaders in OLED production. LG Display started producing flexible OLEDs for mobile devices in 2015, initially focusing on small wearable OLEDs - for devices such as Apple's Watch and LG's own wearables.
In October 2017, following a large expansion in LGD's AMOLED production capacity, LG Display started to produce large flexible OLEDs for smartphones. This is when LGD also started to brand its OLED displays as pOLEDs (p is for plastic). LGD's first smartphone display in production was a 6-inch 1440x2880 (537) display, that was adopted by LG's V30 and Google's Pixel 2 XL) recently introduced smartphones that use LG's new P-OLED smartphone displays, both with the same display - a 6" 1440x2880 (537 PPI).
While on paper these initial displays were superb, actual reviews were rather dismal - as both reviewers and customers complained about bad color reproduction, graininess and problematic viewing angles. In addition many users seem to report serious image retention issues. One of LGD's problems was that it faced very low yields at its 6-Gen E5 line, and so had to produce these smartphone displays at its Gen-4.5 flexible AMOLED line. It seems that as LGD improved its yields and technology, the quality of the displays improved dramatically.
LGD's is now producing newer pOLED displays - for example the 6.4" 1440x3120 notch-type pOLED used in LG Electronics's V40 ThinQ, introduced in October 2018. LG also produces the 6" QHD+ display used by Sony in its Xperia XZ3 flagship.
LGD pOLED production fabs
LG Display has several flexible OLED production fabs. The first one was a pilot 4.5-Gen line, with limited capacity - and so the E2 line is used to produce LGD's flexible wearable OLED displays.
LG Display's main current fab is its E5 line in Gumi, which has a monthly capacity of 7,500 monthly 6-Gen substrates (or about 1.5 million 5.5" panels at 100% yields). The new lab started pilot production in early 2017, even though it took LGD time to stabilize the production which only actually in earnest in 2018.
LG Display is constructing a third flexible OLED line, the E6 line in Paju which is another 6-Gen line, but with a larger capacity of 15,000 monthly substrates. The E6 line is expected to begin production towards the end of 2018.
LG's fourth flexible OLED line may be built at the company's large P10 display production complex in Paju. The P10 will be a large display complex with a total investment of close to $10 billion - but will mostly produce OLED TV panels. It could include a flexible OLED line, but LG's plans are not finalized yet, its seems.
pOLED vs PLED
pOLED is LG Display's brand name for mobile flexible AMOLED displays. Somewhat confusingly, PLED, also called P-OLEDs, are Polymer-based OLED materials - a class of materials pioneered by CDT (now owned by Sumitomo) that can be used to create OLEDs (most OLEDs today use Small Molecule OLED materials). For more on PLEDs, see here.
The latest LG pOLED news:
In January 2018 it was reported that LG Display is in the final stages of its discussions with Apple, and the Korean OLED maker expects to supply 15-16 million flexible OLEDs to Apple in 2018 (LGD will supply Apple with 6.5" AMOLEDs for its 2018 large iPhone OLED variant).
The Wall Street Journal now reports that LG Display may not be ready to produce these OLED displays in time for Apple - who may once again rely on Samsung Display to produce all of its OLED iPhone displays in 2018.
According to Business Korea, LG Display signed an agreement with Sony to supply it with flexible pOLED displays for future Sony smartphones. Sony is not a major smartphone player globally, but in Japan it holds 14.9% of the market (second only to Apple).
LG Display is already supplying Sony with OLED displays for Sony's OLED TVs, and reportedly in 2017 Sony requested LGD to double its OLED panel shipments as demand for Sony's OLED TVs has been better than expected.
Google's Pixel 2 XL (which started shipping in October 2017) is one of the first two phones to adopt LG Display's new 6" 1440x2880 (538 PPI) pOLEDs (alongside with LG's own V30). While on paper these displays are superb, actual reviews were rather dismal - as both reviewers and customers complained about bad color reproduction, graininess and problematic viewing angles. In addition many users seem to report serious image retention issues.
According to reports in 2017, LGD faced very low yields at its 6-Gen E5 line, and so had to produce these smartphone displays at its Gen-4.5 flexible AMOLED line. Some users are now saying that these issues do not plague all of Google's phone - and some come with noticeable better displays. This should be good news for LGD and it's likely that as the company gains more experience with smartphone pOLED production, it will produce better looking displays in better yields.
Google started shipping its Pixel 2 XL smartphone a few weeks ago, and this is one of the first two phones to adopt LG Display's new 6" 1440x2880 (538 PPI) pOLEDs. While on paper these displays are superb, actual reviews were rather dismal - to the point that some reviewers say that these are simply "bad displays".
Both reviewers and customers complain about bad color reproduction, graininess and problematic viewing angles. In addition many users seem to report serious image retention issues. Google has now posted an update regarding the Pixel 2 XL display.
An early pre-production review of LG's V30 claimed that the display suffer from serious quality issues, and now reviews of commercially-sold units confirm the display problems.
Google announced its 2nd-generation own-brand smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2, produced by HTC, sports a 5-inch FHD (441 PPI) AMOLED display (made by SDC), a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage and a 12 MP camera.
The Pixel 2 XL, manufactured by LG, has similar features, but with a larger 6" QHD+ (537 PPI) pOLED display - made by LGD.
A couple of days ago we reported that Android Authority reviewed LG V30's display, which uses LGD's flexible pOLED panels, with very positive results - saying that LGD's mobile OLEDs are highly competitive with Samsung's latest Super AMOLED displays.
Ars Technica also posted an early review of a pre-production V30 device, but its conclusions are very different. While the display sounds great on paper, Ars Technica says (and it's got photos to prove) that in a dark room the display suffers from a grainy image and horizontal banding. The light level is also woefully uneven, with hotspots blazing out of the left and right corners.
AndroidPolice blog claims it has exclusive information regarding Google's upcoming flagship smartphone, the 2017 Pixel XL. Besides the leaked image you see below, the blog claims that the Pixel XL will use a 6" flexible OLED display (2:1 aspect ratio) - produced by LG Display.
The OLED display will have (according to the leaked image) curved corners - but it will not sport an edge-folded design.