Samsung OLED company spotlight

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.

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. In 2022, Samsung returned to OLED TV production, and is now offering QD-OLED panels and its first such TV is the S95B.

Samsung S95B photo

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

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The latest Samsung OLED news:

The Elec: UDC's blue PHOLED material is still unstable, may delay market introduction

Universal Display Corporation has announced several times that it is progressing with its blue PHOLED material development, and it is on track to release the first commercial material by the end of 2024. In November 2023 we reported that UBI estimates that Samsung has delayed the adoption of a blue PHOLED to the second half of 2025.

UDC RGB PHOLED materials photoNow there's a new report in Korea that claims that UDC's blue PHOLED project is facing technical challenges, and UDC is still not able to achieve a long-lasting blue emitter at the right color point. It will be interesting to know whether UDC addresses this issue in its next investor conference call (May 2nd). 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 16,2024

Nintendo sold over 7 million Switch OLED consoles in Japan alone, over 20 million units globally

In October 2021, Nintendo launched its first OLED gaming console, the Nintendo Switch OLED. The new OLED device is popular - eight months after the launch Nintendo announced it shipped over 5.8 million devices, and now the company announced it has sold over 7 million Nintendo Switch OLED devices in Japan alone. Nintendo is now selling around 2.5 million units per quarter, and this means that global sales are likely over 20 million.

The Nintendo Switch is a popular device - total lifetime sales across all variants are over 130 million units. The OLED model was the clear preference for people buying a Switch recently. The Nintendo Switch OLED model is an upgrade to the original Switch with a 7-inch 1280x720 OLED display (produced by Samsung Display). The Nintendo Switch OLED model is now shipping globally for $349.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 13,2024

Will Samsung decide to abandon its QD-OLED technology?

In 2019 Samsung Display announced its decision to invest $10.85 billion in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines. A few years later, SDC started to produce panels in its first fab, mass producing TV and monitor QD-OLEDs. The company attracted several customers (Sony and Samsung Electronics for TV panels, and several companies for its monitors), and these displays have been very well received by the market.

Since 2022, Samsung has increased its production yields, and increased its production capacity, and today it produces around 40,000 substrates a month in its 8.5-Gen production line. Reviews of QD-OLED gaming monitors and TVs are very positive, with many analysts seeing QD-OLED as improving over LGD's WOLED panels in terms of image quality. 

But the reality at Samsung Display's QD-OLED division, is likely not so rosy. It seems that the technology is facing both market challenges and technology challenges - which may lead to a decision by Samsung to abandon it altogether. 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 08,2024

Samsung Display increases focus on small and medium AMOLED production

A report from Korea suggests that SDC has transferred around 500 of its engineers from its large-area OLED development division, or about 30% of them, to its divisions that focus on small and medium-sized AMOLED development.

Samsung Display S-Foldalbe AMOLED smartphone prototype (SID DIsplayweek 2021)

Samsung tri-folding AMOLED prototype

According to the report, the main reason for SDC's change of priorities is due to the need to remain competitive with Chinese-based OLED makers that are offering OLED panels at low costs. Samsung estimates that it is ahead of its Chinese competitors by only a year or a year and half, and it is just a matter of time until Chinese companies catch up with South Korea makers (SDC and LGD).

Read the full story Posted: Apr 06,2024

UBI: OLED tablet shipments to grow 7X in 2024, and continue to more than double by 2028

According to UBI Research, the OLED tablet panel market is set to grow quickly, more than doubling between 2024 (12 million units expected) to 2028 (28.4 million). That's a CAGR of 24.1%.

UBI says that the market in 2023 was only 1.8 million panels - so growth in 2024 will be dramatic (almost 7X), mostly thanks to Apple's adoption of OLEDs in some of its iPad modules (expected to be announced next month). Samsung will produce 11" panels for Apple, while LGD will produce larger 12.9" panels. 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 04,2024

UBI: the foldable OLED market will grow to 52.7 million units in 2028, Samsung Display to remain the market leader

UBI Research released its latest foldable OLED shipments forecast, saying that it expects the market to grow from 27.4 million units in 2024 to 52.7 million 2028.

The market is dominated by Samsung Display, which shipped 13.4 million foldable OLEDs in 2023, and holds a 61% market. Samsung is followed by BOE (6.2 million, growing 3X from 2022), TCL CSOT (1.1 million) and Visionox (1.1 million). UBI expects Samsung Display to remain the clear leader in this market as it is the sole supplier to Samsung Electronics - and it is also expected that Samsung will be the exclusive supplier to Apple's future foldable iPhones.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 03,2024

Reports suggest low yields at SDC's fab causes Apple to delay the launch of its first AMOLED tablets

In January 2024 we reported that Samsung Display and LG Display have started to produce AMOLED displays for Apple's future iPads, to be announced later this year. Earlier expectations were for Apple to order a total of 10 million iPad AMOLED displays in 2024 from both LGD and SDC, with LGD getting around 60% of the orders. 

Apple was aiming to launch the new OLED iPads this month, but have now reportedly delayed the release to May, as Samsung is suffering from low yields for the 11" AMOLED panels, mostly due to the tandem stack architecture.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 29,2024

Omdia: Samsung leads the small and medium AMOLED market with a 43% market share in 2023

Omdia released its small and medium (9-inch and lower) AMOLED market share information for 2023, saying that even though Samsung's market share was lower than 50% for the first time, it stills leads the market by a large margin, with a 43% market share. 

Samsung is followed by BOE (15%), LG Display (10%), Visionox (9%) and Tianma (8%). The total market reached 842 million units, a growth of 11% over 2022. Omdia says that the China-based OLED makers have been expanding their capacity and improving the quality of the produced panels, and are securing orders from domestic smartphone brands. 

Read the full story Posted: Mar 29,2024

Reports suggest BOE and perhaps Tianma to supply all the AMOLEDs for Apple's iPhone SE 4

A report from China suggests that Samsung will not produce any AMOLEDs for the upcoming Apple iPhone SE 4, as the Korean maker asked for around $30 per unit (6.1-inch) which was too high for Apple. Apple apparantly wanted to pay only $25, and it is estimated that BOE will supply most of the units, with some orders perhaps going to Tianma.

According to reports, Samsung estimated that it will not be able to make a profit in this project and decided to stop the negotiations when Apple insisted on a low price.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 28,2024