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

The Bell: Apple aims to sell 45 million 6.5" OLED iPhones and 25 million 5.84" OLED iPhones in 2018

More and more reports suggest that Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup (to be introduced in September 2018) will include two OLED models and one LCD models. A few days ago it the Nikkei Asian Review said that Apple's 2018 OLED iPhone launch orders will be 20% lower compared to 2017, amounting to 80 million panels.

Apple iPhone X photo

Now the Korean site The Bell says that Apple ordered 45 million 6.5" OLED panels from SDC for the iPhone Xs Plus and only 25 million for the smaller 5.84" iPhone Xs - to a total of 70 million panels. For the lower-end LCD model, Apple ordered only 30 million panels from Japan Display.

UBI Research: the OLED market will begin its recovery in Q2 2018

UBI Research says that Samsung Display's OLED shipments dropped 26% in Q1 2018 (compared to Q4 2017) to reach 88 million units (that's 4.7% lower than Q1 2017), generating $5.37 billion in revenues (down 32.4% from last quarter and 30.4% from last year). Revenues and shipments are expected to recover, though, in Q2 2018.

SDC OLED shipments and revenues Q1 2018 (UBI)

UBI says that Samsung Display will hold a market share of 93.4% of the total OLED market in 2018.

OLED Automotive Market Report

GBI: Samsung's first foldable phone could cost around $1,850

In the past months, several reports suggested that Samsung is getting ready to release its first foldable device in early 2019 (production will actually towards the end of 2018). According to Korea's Golden Bridge Investment, Samsung's foldable phone could cost around $1,850 at launch.

In-folding vs Out-folding smartphone designs

GBI also confirms earlier report that the device will have two displays, the foldable inside display and an outer display. Previously it was said that each unfolded display will be 3.5-inch in size, but GBI says that the folded display's size will be 4.5-inch, while the unfolded large display will be 7.3-inch.

DSCC: 100 million OLED panels were shipped in Q1 2018, generating $5.8 billion in revenues

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says that in Q1 2018 OLED revenues dropped 33% compared to Q4 2017 (but grew 39% compared to Q1 2017) and amounted to $5.9 billion. DSCC says that OLED revenues will decline further in Q2 2018 but will recover in the second half of 2018. Full-year revenues are expected to reach $26.95 billion, while the market will reach $57.2 billion by 2022.

AMOLED revenue and growth (2016-2018, DSCC)

Samsung Electronics was the top OLED customer in the first quarter, and together with Apple (#2) the two companies consumer 79% of all OLED panels by revenue.

SDC to supply Huawei with its largest smartphone OLEDs yet at 6.9-inch

The Korea Herald says that Samsung Display signed an agreement to supply 6.9" OLEDs to Huawei for an upcoming large smartphone. This is the largest smartphone OLED that SDC has ever developed.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro photo

The Herald says that Chinese consumers want large phones as it is easier to write Chinese characters on larger screens. Huawei is the world's third-largest smartphone maker (with a 11.4% market share, according to Strategic Analytics).

DSCC: SDC's OLED fab utilization starts to improve as production starts for next-gen iPhones and Galaxy phones

DSCC says that Samsung Display's OLED utilization has started to improve as it is starting to produce new OLED displays for new smartphones by Samsung, Apple and other makers.

SDC OLED fab utilization (Jan 2017 - June 2018, DSCC)

SDC's utilization rates started to improve in May 2018, with the rigid A2 OLED fab expected to exceed 80% in June. At 100% yields, the A2 can produce 175,000 monthly substrates. DSCC says that 5.5-inch to 6-inch rigid OLEDs cost will fall to $23 in Q3 2018, with the price premium over LTPS LCDs will be around $5. DSCC says that at such a small gap they expect demand for rigid OLEDs will remain strong.

Samsung: the automotive AMOLED market to grow from 100,000 units in 2018 to 3 million by 2022

During its 2018 Investors Forum in Singapore, Samsung Electronics said that it expects the automotive display market to grow at a 9% CAGR from 2018 to 2022 - but automotive OLEDs will grow at a much faster rate - from 100,000 units in 2018 to 3 million in 2022.

At SID Displayweek Samsung indeed demonstrated many automotive OLED displays - including curved, rolllabe, unbreakable, transparent and lightfield AMOLED displays.

CLSA - smartphone OLED penetration stagnated in Q1 2018

CLSA says that OLED penetration in the smartphone market was unchanged at 29% in Q1 2018 (up from 25% from Q1 2017, though). Unit shipments increased 12% from Q1 2017 to reach 96 million, but were down 15% from Q4 2017.

OLED smartphone penetration (2015-2018Q1, CLSA)

OLED adoption in Samsung Electronics' smartphones increased to 72% in Q1 2018, mostly due to the successful launch of the GS9. Apple saw a decrease from 35% in Q4 2017 to 32% in Q1 2018 as iPhone X shipment decreased.

Samsung Display demonstrates its latest OLED displays at SID 2018

Samsung Display had a large booth at SID DisplayWeek, showcasing its latest OLED technologies (and also its QD-enhanced LCD TVs).

A large part of SDC's booth was dedicated to the company's automotive OLED technologies which included a wide range of flexible and rollable OLED displays - including flexible, transparent, rollable and a lightfield display.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters