OLED is an emerging display technology that is fast becoming the mainstream display technology in many markets, as OLED enables display panels that offer the best image quality and free design as they can be made flexible and transparent. The Samsung OLED displays are considered to be the best in the industry and the Korean company is the clear lead in AMOLED production for mobile devices.

SDC 5.7'' FHD rollable OLED at SID 2016

Over the pay years Samsung invested billions of dollars in OLED research and production facilities as the company sees OLEDs fast replacing LCD displays in all mobile applications.

Samsung AMOLED displays

Samsung is currently producing over 300 million AMOLED displays in a year, used mostly in smartphones - such as Samsung's own Galaxy S7 (and S7 edge ) - but also in smartphones from Gionee, Meizu, Acer, HP, Vivo, Microsoft, Lenovo, ZTE, Hisense, Konka and others. Samsung also produces large mobile OLEDs for tablets, laptops and monitors.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge photoSamsung Galaxy S6 Edge

In August 2013 Samsung launched the company's first OLED TV, the KN55S9C, which used a curved 55" OLED panel. The TV was priced at around $8999 in the US and Korea, but is no longer in production, and was never in real mass production. Samsung has yet to return to OLED TV production.

Samsung flexible OLED displays

Following its initial flexible OLED production launch in 2013, and the huge success of its edge-type phones, Samsung is currently producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs each month to satisfy demand for the Galaxy S7 edge and its other flexible OLED products. Samsung has reportedly been chosen to supply 100 million flexible OLED panels to Apple's future iPhones.

Future Samsung OLED devices

Samsung is developing several next generation display technologies based on OLEDs. Samsung has been developing a foldable OLED device for a long time - which may dramatically change the mobile device market as it could enable smartphone to turn into tablets or phones that can be folded into smaller devices.

Samsung is also developing transparent OLEDs (see the company's 55" FHD transparent and mirror-type OLEDs here) for retail application, and also readies next generation displays for the automotive industry.

Several years ago Samsung released the following video, showing a concept transparent flexible AMOLED tablet device. It will be years before Samsung can commercialize such a display, but it's nice to see what the future holds:

Further reading

Latest Samsung OLED news

UBI: The price gap between premium OLED and LCD TVs is almost gone

Nov 16, 2017

UBI Research is tracking the price of premium TV sold on Amazon.com in the US. As competition intensifies, the price gap between OLED and LCD TVs keeps getting lower - to the point where is not much difference between a high end Samsung QLED TV and LG's OLEDC7 OLED TVs.

LCD vs OLED TV price gap, (UBI Research, 2016-2017)

In December 2016, the price gap between a 65" LG OLED TV to a 65" Samsung SUHD TV was about $1,000. The price gap as of today is only about $300. The price gap for a 55" TV is even lower (around $200).

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

The iPhone X has a different diamond pixel structure than Samsung's Galaxy displays

Nov 09, 2017

Samsung introduced the Diamond Pixel display architecture back in 2013 when it launched the Galaxy S4 smartphone, and since then it has adopted this sub-pixel scheme in all of its OLED displays (replacing the previous PenTile scheme).

Galaxy (right) vs iPhone X (left) Diamond Pixel structure

The 2014 Galaxy S5 introduced a different Diamond Pixel scheme which Samsung uses till today. DisplayMate tested the Apple iPhone X and it turns out that Apple's OLED, even though it is produced by Samsung Display, uses a slightly different Diamond Pixels - the fill factor of Apple's display is higher than in the Galaxy phones. You can see the two different displays in the macro photos above (courtesy of Display Mate). The iPhone X OLED is on the left, while the right shows the Galaxy OLED.

DisplayMate: excellent calibration makes the iPhone X OLED the best mobile display ever tested

Nov 07, 2017

DisplayMate posted a review of the iPhone X OLED display (5.8" 1125x2436 Samsung-made flexible Super AMOLED). Samsung's own OLEDs are considered by DisplayMate to be the best displays in the world, so we expected this display to be excellent - and DisplayMate confirms it is actually better than Samsung's own displays thanks to impressive precision display calibration that Apple developed that transforms the OLED hardware into a superbly accurate and high performance display.

Apple iPhone X photo

DisplayMate confirms that this OLED is indeed the brightest full-screen OLED smartphone ever. The iPhone X also offers the highest absolute color accuracy ever tested (visually indistinguishable From perfect), the highest full-screen contrast rating in ambient light, the highest contrast ratio ever (infinite as in all OLEDs) and lowest screen reflectance and the smallest brightness variation with viewing angle.

Apple admits that burn-in could occur in the iPhone X OLED

Nov 05, 2017

Following the launch of LG's P-OLED displays, we had many recent discussions and reports of OLED burn-in and Image-Retention. Apple now released a support document for the iPhone X, its first OLED phones, in which it warns users that “image persistence” or “burn-in” is an "expected behavior".

Apple iPhone X side photo

Apple says it engineered the display to be the best in the industry in reducing the effect of OLED burn-in, though. Apple also says that its OLED could have noticeable but slight shifts in color and hue when seen off-angle. The iPhone X has a 5.8" 1125x2436 Samsung-made Super AMOLED display.

Tom's Guide: the iPhone X has the best OLED display on the market

Nov 04, 2017

Tom's guide posted an interesting review that compares the OLED display of the iPhone X (5.8" 1125x2436) to the OLED displays of the Galaxy Note 8 (6.3" 2960x1440) and the Google Pixel 2 XL (LGD 6" 2960x1440 P-OLED). This is Apple's first OLED phone, but Tom's Guide finds it superior to the OLEDs used by the other phones, especially if you want a realistic color reproduction.

OLED viewing angles comparison (Nov 2017, Tom's Guide)

The review shows how the iPhone is brighter than the other displays (574 nits, compared to 438 nits no the Pixel 2 XL and 408 nits on the Note 8. This test was performed for full-screen content. The Note 8 can actually achieve 1,240 nits but on specialized conditions and only when a small part of the screen is active.

DSCC: Samsung's OLED business saw a decline in profits, but will likely rebound soon

Nov 03, 2017

Samsung recently announced its financial results for Q3 2017, and Specifically regarding its OLED business, SDC increased its sales of flexible OLEDs, but prices of rigid OLED panels declined. DSCC estimates that the utilization at Samsung's OLED fab fell from mid-80% to mid-70% mostly due to delays in shipments to Apple.

SDC OLED revenues, 2015-2017 (DSCC)

The low utilization rate resulted in a decline in OLED operating income, which fell 37% from Q2 2017. Revenues actually increased (as you can see in the chart above), but pricing pressure on rigid OLED panels meant that SDC's OLED operating margins fell from 22.5% in Q2 2017 to 12.4% in Q3 2017. DSCC estimates however that OLED profitability will rebound quickly as Apple are likely to increase iPhone X shipments and as utilization and yield improve. The higher demand for higher-cost flexible OLEDs are likely to enable SDC to return its operating margin to over 20%.

Apple will charge $279 to fix the OLED display in the iPhone X

Nov 01, 2017

Apple's OLED iPhone X is an expensive device - the basic model costs $999 - but it won't stop here. Apple announced the costs of repairing the new flagship smartphones, and these are considerable higher compared to Apple's other phones.

Apple iPhone X photo

Fixing the SDC 5.8" 1125x2436 flexible Super AMOLED outside of the warranty will cost $279, over $100 more than the cost of fixing the display of the iPhone 8 ($149) or iPhone 8 Plus ($169). Apple offers its Care+ plan that extends its initial 90-day coverage to 2 years, which may be a wise option due to the high cost of repairs. The Care+ package costs $199 and a screen repair will then cost $29.

Samsung reports Q3 2017 results, expects OLEDs to become mainstream for smartphones in 2018

Oct 31, 2017

Samsung reported its final financial results for Q3 2017 - this was a great quarter for Samsung as revenues reached 62 trillion Won (around $55 billion) and operation profits rose 15% from last quarter to reach 14.5 trillion Won (around $12.8 billion USD). Samsung expects next year earnings to grow mainly from its component business, with the memory market likely to remain favorable.

Samsung Galaxy J7 Plus photo

Samsung Display reported increased revenues, mostly due to strong sales of flexible OLEDs, but earnings declines as average sale price of its LCD displays declined and the investments in new OLED capacity. Specifically regarding its OLED business, SDC increased its sales of flexible OLEDs, but prices of rigid OLED panels declined.

IHS: AMOLED production capacity set to grow over 300% in the next 5 years

Oct 24, 2017

IHS Markit says that global AMOLED production capacity is set to grow from 11.9 million square meters to 50.1 million sqm in 2022 - that's a 320% growth in 5 years. Samsung and LGD will remain the market leaders and Korea will have a market share of 71% in 2022 (down from 93% in 2017). China-based OLED makers will have a market share of 26% in 2022 (up from 5% in 2017).

AMOLED production capacity (WOLED vs RGB, 2012-2022, IHS)

IHS says that the majority of OLED capacity will still be used to produce RGB (direct-emission) OLEDs in 2022. RGB OLED production capacity will grow from 8.9 million sqm in 2017 to 31.9 million sqm in 2022. WOLED (WRGB) OLED TV panel capacity will grow from 3 million sqm in 2017 to 18.2 million sqm in 2022.