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

Samsung reports a strong Q1 2018, but warns of weaker smartphone and OLED demand

Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q1 2018. Net income increased to $10.7 billion - higher then analysts expected, as sales of memory chips surged. Samsung, however, warned of weaker demand of smartphones and flexible OLED displays.

Specifically regarding OLED displays, Samsung said that earnings were lower due to weak demand and rising competition between rigid OLEDs and LCDs. Looking forward to Q2, Samsung seeks to reduce costs and improving yields.

CINNO provides a short overview of the smartphone AMOLED IC driver market

Digitimes posted an interesting article that covers the AMOLED smartphone display driver ICs market, based on information from CINNO Research.

Huawei P20 Pro photo

Samsung, according to CINNO, is sourcing driver ICs from two companies - Samsung SLI and MagnaChip. As Samsung's AMOLED market share is over 90%, it means that Samsung SLI and Magnachip are also leading this market. MagnaChip itself expects its OLED revenue to grow 50% in 2018.

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

Reports from Korea suggest that Samsung's first foldable phone will use three 3.5" displays and will fold inwards

A new report from the Korean The Bell claims that Samsung's first foldable AMOLED phone will feature three 3.5" OLED displays, and will be folded inwards. Samsung expects to start producing the device towards the end of 2018, which means it will start shipping in early 2019.

In-folding vs Out-folding smartphone designs

The Bell also says that this device will not be a mass market smartphone - Samsung is expected to produce between 500,00 to 2 million devices, which means that its first foldable phone (like its first flexible phone, the 2013 Galaxy Round) will be a sort of limited technology-demonstration phone.

WSJ: LGD won't be able to produce OLED displays for Apple's 6.5" 2018 iPhone

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).

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design photoHuawei Mate RS Porsche, LGD P-OLED screen

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.

Samsung: no plans to release an OLED TV soon, but we are researching hybrid QD-OLEDs

In February it was reported that Samsung is developing a hybrid Quantum-Dots OLED technology for its future TVs. This report was soon denied by Samsung's Visual Display Business VP, Han Jong-hee, who said that Samsung is sticking to its two-track strategy for premium TVs, namely QD-LCDs and Micro-LEDs.

Samsung OLED TV (2013)

Today Samsung's Han Jong-hee again says that Samsung has no plans to produce an OLED TV any time soon - but he does confirm that the company is researching a way to combine QDs with OLEDs. According to our information, Samsung's main R&D initiative use blue OLED emitters and blue light to white light conversion using quantum-dots, combined with color filters (QDCFs) to add red and green colors.

Huawei aims to release the world's first foldable phone

Samsung Display is aiming to start producing foldable OLED displays by the end of 2018, and it is assumed that the company will supply its first such displays to Samsung Electronics (who is planning to release its first foldable phone/tablet by early 2019).

A new report from Korea suggests that Huawei is planning to beat Samsung Electronics to the market with a "truly" foldable phone. Huawei will unveil its first such phone in November - but the phone will take longer to actually ship. The phone will fold inside.

Apple in talks with Samsung, aiming to get a lower price for the iPhone Xs OLED

It seems that more and more analysts believe that Apple will eventually release two new OLED iPhone models in 2018. According to the latest report from Korea, Apple is now in talks with Samsung regarding the price of its flexible OLED panels for the smaller 5.8" iPhone Xs 2018 variant.

Apple iPhone X photo

Samsung's OLED fab utilization rates are low as Apple cut its orders for the iPhone X displays in half. It seems that Apple now aims to take advantage of that and the iPhone maker is asking for a lower price for 2018 OLED panel. The reports suggest that Samsung will supply 100 million OLED panels to Apple in 2018 - 25 million for the 2017 iPhone X and 75 for the 2018 iPhone Xs. The larger (around 6.5") OLED iPhone (iPhone Xs Plus?) will use panels produced by LG Display.

Samsung researchers study the degradation of blue PHOLED materials, offer new design strategies for longer lasting blue emitters

Researchers from Samsung Electronics and the Ewha Womans University in Korea collaborated in a new study of the degradation in blue phosphorescence OLED materials. This study demonstrate the importance of controlling exciton-induced electron transfer, and more importantly provides strategies for the design of longer-lasting blue PHOLED materials.

Degradation study of blue PHOLED, exciton-inducted (Samsung/Ewha)

The researchers say that the study reveals the charge-neutral generation of polaron pairs (radical ion pairs) by electron transfer from the dopant to host excitons. According to the study, device lifetime correlates linearly with the rate constant for the annihilation of the radical ion pair.

Will Samsung construct an OLED TV fab at its A5 production site?

Samsung's OLED fabs are currently under utilized - with some analysts estimating that its flexible OLED fabs are running at about 50% capacity following lower-than-expected orders from Apple. SDC also decided to delay its upcoming A5 production fab.

Samsung OLED TVs (2013)

This is a lot of wasted capacity. Last month I speculated that SDC may target new applications for its OLEDs - including monitors and laptops - or perhaps transparent OLEDs as well. According to a new report from Korea, SDC may be aiming to start constructing an A5 line - but use it to produce large-area OLED TV panels. According to a financial analyst, Samsung recently assembled a new OLED TV team with 300 R&D employees.