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

Digitimes: SDC will only be able to supply 3-4 million flexible OLEDs to Apple upon the iPhone 8 launch

Jun 28, 2017

Digitimes reports that Apple will only be able to ship a very limited number of OLED iPhones following the expected launch in September, as SDC's capacity will be limited to about 3-4 million flexible OLED displays.

iPhone 7 photo

Apple goal is to ship 50-60 million OLED iPhones in 2017, and have signed a supply agreement with SDC to supply these displays (some estimate that SDC promised to ship 80 million OLEDs in 2017 alone). But SDC still struggles with low yields for these specific OLED displays and will not be able to produce so many displays in time.

Will Samsung's next-gen Gear VR headset include its own 2000 PPI OLED display?

Jun 22, 2017

According to a report from Korea, Samsung is developing its next-generation Gear VR headset, which will include a built-in display (unlike current models which require you to insert your Galaxy smartphone into the device).

Samsung Gear VR (consumer version) photo

The report claims that Samsung will adopt a new OLED display in this device - which will achieve a pixel density of 2,000 PPI. Such a high pixel density will be great for VR as it will improve the realism and reduce sickness.

OLED Handbook

Dai Nippon Printing to supply FMM masks to BOE Display

Jun 20, 2017

According to ET News, Japan's Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) has terminated Samsung's exclusivity for the company's fine metal masks (FMM) products. DNP is now offering its masks to other OLED makers, and have already signed up BOE Display as a customer.

DNP has advanced its FMM technology, and is now able to produce masks with high resolution - enough to create QHD (2560x1440) smartphone displays. BOE's current masks only enable it to produce FHD OLEDs, and it will now upgrade its production to higher-end displays using DNP's masks.

Samsung Display to start construction of its $7 billion A4 flexible OLED line

Jun 16, 2017

In April Korean press ran stories that Samsung has started construction of its A4 flexible OLED fab, which was later denied by Samsung. The Korea Economic Daily now states that Samsung is now ready to start construction, which was confirmed apparently by the Asan city government which is expected to approve the plans by July.

Samsung's A4 line will be, according to the report, another 6-Gen fab, similar to its A3 fab which is already in mass production. The A4 will have a monthly capacity of 60,000 substrates (other reports suggest that full capacity will be 135,000 substrates - similar to the A3 line). The A4 is expected to start mass producing panels in 2019. Total cost for this fab is estimated at $7 billion to $11.5 billion.

ETNews: SDC to start producing flexible OLEDs for Apple within a few weeks

Jun 07, 2017

ETNews reports that Samsung Display is expected to initiate flexible OLED production for Apple's first OLED iPhone later this month. Apple recently approved the prototype panels, and Samsung is getting ready to increase its production rate.

SDC will ship over 10 million flexible OLEDs to Apple every month, as Apple ordered over 80 million OLEDs for 2017 alone. According to ETNews, Apple will not bend the flexible OLED - the iPhone's display will be flat.

Google and a leading OLED maker are developing a next-gen OLED VR display

May 30, 2017

Google's VR vice president, Clay Bavor, revealed that Google has partnered with "one of the leading OLED makers" on a secret project to develop a high-end VR display. The OLED display will support a resolution of 20 million pixels per eye.

SDC 806 PPI VR OLED at SID 2016

This is a very high resolution - a 4K display has 8.3 million pixels, so it means 2.5X the number of pixels in a 4K display. It terms of display density (which depends on the panel size of course, which we assume to be around 3.5"), this could be around 1,800 PPI.

Will Hyundai Genesis adopt SDC's flexible OLEDs in future cars?

May 23, 2017

Last Month Hyuandai's premium sub-brand Genesis unveiled a concept car, the GV80 SUV, that featured a long curved OLED display - 22" in size, which we assumed was supplied by SDC. The Korea Herald reports today that Samsung is in talks with Genesis to supply OLED panels for its automobiles.

It's not clear if this first deal involves flexible OLEDs as was demonstrated in the GV80 or whether it will involve regular rigid OLEDs. The Korea Herald reports that Samsung is strongly pushing for a comeback into the automotive market with a range of technologies including displays, batteries and even the Tizen OS.

Samsung Display to supply 180 million flexible OLED panels for the 2018 iPhone 9

May 23, 2017

According to the Korea Herald, Samsung Display has signed an agreement with Apple to supply flexible OLEDs for Apple's iPhone 9, due out in late 2018. The Korea Herald says that Apple will launch two iPhone 9 OLED models - with display sizes of 5.28" and 6.46". Of course the final display size is subject to change as the design of the iPhone 9 is not final yet.

iPhone 7 photo

SDC's total OLED shipments to Apple in 2018 will reach 180 million units, and Samsung will dedicate one of its upcoming flexible OLED fabs exclusively for Apple's displays.