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

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.

DSCC revised its OLED market forecasts down following lower Apple orders

Earlier this month DSCC announced that it sees low AMOLED fab utilization at SDC, following lower than expected Apple orders. The weaker-than-expected 2018 will move OLED makers to delay and cancel new OLED fab expansion plans.

OLED revenues and  growth (2016-2022, DSCC, revised March 2018)

DSCC now released its updated forecast numbers. The company lowered its outlook for 2018 by 22% and expects total OLED revenues to be $30.3 billion (up 30% from 2017). Looking further ahead to 2022, DSCC sees the market growing at a CAGR of 23% (down from its earlier estimates of 27%). In 2022 the total OLED market will reach $64.3 billion in revenues (down from its earlier estimates of $79.6 billion).

OLED Handbook

Digitimes - Apple will introduce two new OLED iPhones in 2018

Apple's iPhone X sales were lower than expected, which resulted in a reduction of OLED display orders from SDC (from an estimated 40 million in Q1 2018 to 20 million). Several reports also suggested that Apple may decide to only introduce one new OLED iPhone model in 2018 (the larger 6.5" one, with panels made by LGD).

Apple iPhone X photo

One of these reports came from Taiwan's Digitimes, but a new report from Digitimes suggests that Apple does plan to upgrade its OLED iPhone X in 2018. According to Digitimes, Apple will introduce a slightly larger 5.9" OLED model. In total Apple will buy 110-130 OLED panels in 2018, for all three OLED models (the 2017 iPhone X, the 2018 5.9" iPhone XI and the larger 6.5" OLED iPhone XI plus).

Samsung aims to ship 43 million Galaxy S9 phones in 2018

Yesterday reports from Korea suggested that pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 in Korea are 30% lower compared to the pre-orders of the Galaxy S8 in 2017. The Korea Herald, however, today says that Samsung believes it will sell more Galaxy S9 phones than it did with the GS8.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus photo

The Korea Herald says that Samsung told its suppliers that its target is to sell 43 million GS9 (and GS9 plus) phones in 2018. In 2017, Samsung shipped 41 million GS8 and GS8 plus phones. In 2016, Samsung shipped 48 million GS7 phones, so even if it reaches its target of 43 million GS9 phones, it will still lag behind The GS7.

Galaxy S9 pre-orders in Korea are 30% lower than the S8 preorders in 2017

According to reports from Korea, pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 in Korea are 30% lower compared to the pre-orders of Samsung's Galaxy S8 in 2017. Yonhap news says that Korea's three largest carriers distributed only 180,000 GS9 phones, while at the same time last year these three companies distributed 260,00 GS8 phones.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus photo

Samsung did not yet disclose any pre-sales data. The GS9 has a flexible 5.8" 1440x2960 (570 PPI) Super AMOLED display (6.2", 529 PPI, on the S9 Plus). DisplayMate says that this display is the best mobile display ever tested, surprassing in quality the 5.8" flexible AMOLED used in the iPhone X.

DSCC sees OLED fab delays and line cancellations ahead

Market analysts from DSCC say that the low utilization rates at Samsung Display has caused the company to delay its capacity expansion plans. SDC's decision to delay its A5 fab has already been discussed, but DSCC now says that Samsung is also significantly delaying the ramp-up at its new A4 line. DSCC estimates that SDC will delay this new line by at least a year.

LG Display has also reportedly cancelled the first phase of their next flexible OLED line, the P7 (which can be a conversion of LGD's old P7 LCD line). DSCC sees LGD ordering equipment for a new flexible OLED line only at the beginning of 2019.

The 2018 Audi A8 has a rear seat remote with a 5.7" FHD AMOLED

A few months ago Audi launched its 2018 A8 high-end car, with its OLED lighting rear lights (designed and produced by Hella). Now Audi informs us that the new car also include a rear-seat remote with a 5.7" FHD AMOLED display (produced by SDC).

Audi A8 rear seat OLED remote photo

This is actually the world's first automotive AMOLED displays. We've seen many automobiles with PMOLED displays (in instrument clusters and other controls) but this is the first adoption of an AMOLED display. Depending on the rear equipment specification, the control unit is supplied as standard or an option.

DisplayMate: the Galaxy S9 has the world's best ever mobile display, setting several new display performance records

Samsung introduced its Galaxy S9 flagship phone a couple of days ago, with its flexible 5.8" 1440x2960 (570 PPI) Super AMOLED display (6.2", 529 PPI, on the S9 Plus).

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus photo

Display measurement experts from DisplayMate already tested the new display (with a pre-production GS9), and published a comprehensive report. As expected, Samsung continues to improve its OLED displays, and the GS9 again is announced by DisplayMate to be the world's best ever mobile display, better than the iPhone X OLED.

LG Display is also developing large-area Micro-LED TVs

In early 2018 Samsung unveiled its 146" modular Wall Micro-LED TV, and LG Display was quick to announce that it is also developing similar technology. According to reports, LGD aims to unveil its first Micro-LED TV in September 2018 (at IFA perhaps?) - and it will be larger than Samsung's.

Samsung 146'' micro-LED TV, The Wall

Samsung 146-inch Wall Micro-LED TV

Samsung's focus for the premium TV market is on two technologies, Quantum Dots and Micro-LEDs. It is not likely that LG Display is shifting its focus from OLEDs to Micro-LEDs, but it may be that Micro-LEDs will be used for very large area TVs and maybe for modular designs signage displays.

Samsung denies it is developing QD-OLED TVs, will focus on Micro-LEDs and QLEDs

Last week we reported that ETNews claims that Samsung is developing a hybrid Quantum-Dots OLED technology for its future TVs.

Today Yonhap News reports that Samsung Visual Display Business VP, Han Jong-hee, denies this story, saying that Samsung sticks to its two-track strategy for the high-end TV market, developing both QLED (quantum-dots enhanced LED LCDs) and Micro-LED TVs. Han further says that Samsung will start selling its Wall Micro-LED TV in August 2018.

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