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 researchers arrested for allegedly leaking OLED technology to a Chinese company

A report from Korea updates that three Samsung Display researchers in Suwon were arrested for allegedly leaking OLED technology. Directors of a Chinese company subsidiary were also arrested in this case

According to the report, the technology that was leaked relates to optical alignment of inkjet printing processes. Samsung reportedly invested over 10 billion won ($8.5 million) in developing this technology.

Samsung Display developed a 18.2" 350 nits ink-jet printed OLED panel

Samsung Display has developed a 18.2" 2560x1440 202 PPI inkjet-printed OLED display, that features the highest current efficiency of any inkjet-printed OLED, with the brightness at 350 cd/m2 (full white).

Samsung Display 18.2'' ink-jet printed OLED (SID DW 2020)

Samsung Display says that the high brightness was achieved by tuning the top-emission device structure with high performance soluble materials. The high pixel resolution was achieved by modulating the jetting waveform for ejecting ink drops and improving the drop placement accuracy by selecting the right ink formulations in terms of viscosities and surface energies.

Graphene for Displays and Lighting Market Report

Samsung launches several new AMOLED devices, including the Note 20 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung announced several new OLED devices yesterday. We'll start with the new Galaxy Note 20 which sports a 6.7-inch 1080x2400 HDR10+ Super AMOLED Plus display (which could mean this is an RGB display, not a Pentile one). The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a larger 6.9-inch 1440x3088 Dynamic AMOLED. The display supports a refresh rate of 120Hz at Full-HD resolution and 60Hz at QHD. According to the Elec in Korea, the Note 20 Ultra display has an LTPO backplane (which Samsung calls HOP).

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra photo

Next up is the company's2nd generation Galaxy Z Fold 2 that is an update to the original fold with a larger internal foldable display at 7.6" 1768x2208 HDR10+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED and also a larger 6.23" 816x2260 Super AMOLED cover display. The Fold 2 also improves the hinge design and sports an ultra-thin-glass cover (like the Galaxy Z Flip).

Samsung reports its Q2 2020 financial results, sees full-fledged mobile display recovery only in Q4 2020

Samsung reports a large increase in its profit in Q2 2020 - as the COVID 19 pandemic increases demand for memory chips, and also as a result of a one-time $950 million penalty payment from Apple following lower OLED orders.

Samsung Galaxy A21 photo

Samsung's net profit in Q2 2020 totaled $4.67 billion (an increase of 7% from Q2 2019), while its revenues were $44.4 billion (down 6% from last year).

DSCC lowers its OLED material revenue forecast, now sees a $2.06 billion market in 2024

DSCC updated its OLED material market forecasts, seeing a lower growth ahead. DSCC says the AMOLED stack material market will grow from $928 million in 2019 to $2.06 billion in 2024 in a CAGR of 17%. Only a couple of months ago DSCC estimated that the market in 2024 will reach $2.69 billion - and even these were reduced from earlier estimates due to COVID-19.

AMOLED material revenues, 2019-2024 - update on July 2020, DSCC

DSCC says that the main reason behind the reduction in its forecast is lower OLED TV capacity. The company now expects a slower ramp up at the Guangzhou fab, and LG's P-10 10.5-Gen fab is now removed from the forecast period.

UBI Research: 215 million flexible OLED displays to ship in 2020

UBI Research estimates that Samsung Display's flexible OLED shipments to Chinese device makers will triple in 2020, and will reach 47 million units (up from 15.5 million in 2019). Rigid OLED shipments to China will drop from 135 million in 2019 to 110 million in 2020.

SDC OLED panel shipments to China (2019-2020,UBI)

In total, SDC's flexible OLED panel production will reach 155.5 million in 2020, up 34% from 2019. This follows a couple of years of declining volumes (152 million in 2017, 129 million in 2018 and 116 million in 2019).

DSCC details the production cost and prices of flexible and foldable OLED displays

DSCC posted an interesting article detailing their estimates for the production costs and prices of choice flexible and foldable AMOLED displays, in China and in Korea.

Flexible OLED production cost and price, Korea, Q2-2020 (DSCC)

We'll start with the chart above, which compares the prices and quotes of several flexible OLEDs produced by Samsung in Korea. DSCC says that as the profitability of Samsung's OLED business is highly dependent on fab utilization, it is currently losing money on this business as the yields in its flexible OLED lines are only 38% - and fixed costs such as personnel and depreciation cannot be decreased. Having said that, DSCC sees higher utilization in the next two quarters, which will result in profitability for SDC's OLED unit.

UBI sees fast growth in Polyimide films and ultra-thin glass for foldable smartphone displays

UBI Research estimates that foldable smartphone display makers will continue to rely on both Ultra-Thin-Glass (UTG) and Colorless Polyimide (CPI) films for at least the next five years.

Foldable UTG and CPI market forecast (2020-2024, UBI)

UBI sees demand for CPI films will reach 4.3 million units in 2020 while demand for UTG will reach 3.5 million units. Demand for both products will grow and by 2024 it will reach 37.1 million units for CPI and 30.5 million for UTG.

DSSC updates its OLED industry outlook, sees an oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs till 2025

DSCC updated its capacity and demand outlook for the OLED industry. DSCC says that the oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs will continue to effect the industry for years ahead.

OLED manufacturing input area by maker (2018-2025, DSCC)
According to DSCC the reason for the oversupply is Samsung's near-monopoly on flexible OLED phone panels - and the fact that the company keeps prices high and prefers high profit margins even though it leads to low utilization rates. DSCC sees China's capacity (which includes LG's Gunagzhou fab) share to rise from 5% in 2017 to 30% in 2020 and finally to 49% in 2025.

Atomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processesAtomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processes