Samsung officially launches their YOUM flexible OLED displays

Samsung has officially launched their YOUM flexible OLED technology. While the YOUM brand was shown back in April 2012, it is now officially the name of Samsung's plastic-based flexible OLED panel products. The company didn't reveal any new technical details, nor did they say when they'll start shipping products based on those panels (or ship panels to other customers) - but it seems that they are getting closer and closer to mass production. Personally I think we'll still have to wait a year (at least) for them to overcome all technical issues with production.

While we don't have any interesting facts to tell here, we do have some cool videos - showing a bendable panel and also devices that use curved YOUM displays. One of those devices (shown below) has a 5" curved YOUM panel.

Samsung to show a 5.5" 1280x720 flexible OLED at CES 2013

CNet reports that Samsung Display officials have confirmed that the company will unveil a 5.5" 1,280x720 (267 ppi) plastic-based flexible OLED display at CES 2013 (January 8). The screens on show will be curved, but apparently they will not (yet) roll up. SD still has to develop the touch panel and final encapsulation, according to CNet.

It's not clear yet how close Samsung are to actually commercializing such technology. Originally Samsung planned to release the first plastic-based OLEDs in 2012, but this was pushed back to 2013. I'm not entirely sure Samsung will actually be able to mass produce such displays in 2013.

Thoughts about Samsung's flexible OLED program, is 2013 plausible?

In early 2012, Samsung said they aim to start mass production of plastic-based flexible OLEDs towards the end of 2012. But 2012 is almost over, and new reports suggest that Samsung delayed their plans to early 2013.

But is Samsung really that close to mass production? One of the major hurdles towards plastic based OLEDs is the encapsulation technology. Back in early 2012 Samsung said they will use Vitex' technology (which they bought in 2010) - but this technology is difficult to scale and is very slow. When Samsung delayed the launch to 2013, it was reported that the main issue indeed was the slow encapsulation (that, and low uniformity).

Samsung reports strong growth in OLED panels

Samsung reported good financial results for Q3 2012 - $5.97 billion net income over $47.5 billion in revenues. Samsung saw good growth in smartphones sales and consumer electronics. Samsung reports continued strong growth in the OLED segment - led by sales increase of OLED panels to high-end smartphones due to new product launches.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung postpones flexible OLED production to 2013, will increase glass-based OLEDs instead

ETNews reports that Samsung decided to postpone its flexible OLED production to 2013, and will use those pilot lines to produce regular glass-based OLEDs. Samsung has to delay flexible OLEDs because of technical issues (low uniformity and slow encapsulation) - but also because they need more OLED capacity because of high demand for larger AMOLED displays.

Samsung Display can currently produce 56,000 5.5-Gen (1300x1500 mmm) glass substrates a month. The pilot lines used for flexible OLED development can produce 8,000 more substrates monthly, bringing the total to 64,000.

Will the Galaxy Note 2 feature a plastic-based flexible OLED display?

There are reports suggesting that the upcoming Galaxy Note 2 will feautre a 5.5" YOUM flexible OLED panel. The display will not be bendable though. It will be based on a plastic (polymide) substrate and will be virtually unbreakable. It will also be thinner than current AMOLEDs by around 0.4 mm - which will enable Samsung to use a biggest battery.

We do know that Samsung has plans to launch flexible YOUM panels by the end of the 2012, I'm not sure if the first screen they'll produce will be a large 5.5" panel. In any case, we don't have a lot to wait - Samsung confirmed that the new Note will be announce on August 29.

Samsung sAMOLED UT displays unveiled at court

Samsung and Apple has a long history of legal battles, and during court Samsung submitted some evidence that detail a couple of upcoming Windows 8 phones, the Odyssey and the Marco. Both use sAMOLED (super AMOLED) displays, but we're mostly interested in the Odyssey - which will sport a 4.65" HD Super AMOLED UT display.

This is the first time I see Samsung use 'UT' after an AMOLED display. It's not clear what is this designation. It may be that this phone will use Samsung's plastic-based "flexible" YOUM displays - which will be unbreakable and very thin (UT=Ultra Thin?). But then I would have guessed they would have said "YOUM" and not sAMOLED. Samsung also has UT series of LCD TVs, and in those the UT means a very thin bezel (2.4 mm on the bottom and right, and 4.3 mm on the top and left) - so perhaps that's what they mean here too.

Samsung: we're getting "huge" orders for flexible OLED panels

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun says that Samsung is getting "huge" orders from other electronic makers for flexible OLED panels. Kwon re-confirms the plan to produce flexible OLEDs in 2012. According to reports, Samsung has converted several OLED lines for flexible panels, and these lines will produce 960,000 OLED "sheets" by the end of year (it's not clear what is meant by a "sheet", and whether this is a monthly or yearly capacity).

The same reports also suggest that Apple may be behind those "huge" orders. We do know that Apple is interested in flexible OLEDs, but it doesn't seem likely that they are actually planning to start using these displays soon. In any case the first "flexible" OLEDs will probably not be really flexible. They will be plastic based though, which means that they are quite shutterproof, in addition to being thin and light. It will also be possible to fix them on curved surfaces.

Technical updates on Samsung's flexible OLED program

Samsung is getting ready to release flexible OLEDs soon, and have announced that these displays will be branded as YOUM displays. Today the OLED association released some interesting information regarding Samsung's flexible OLED manufacturing program. According to this report, products that use these displays will be introduced in Q4 2012, while mass production will begin as early as next month.

Back in May 2011 Samsung announced a joint venture with Japan's Ube Kosan to develop and produce polyimide resin - to be used as substrates for their flexible displays in a $18 million investment. Now we hear that the curing equipment for the hardened polyimide will be provided by Korea's Tera Semicon.

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