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 may resume OLED production at its A4 line in October following new smartphone OLED orders

Due to lower demand for flexible (due to several reasons, see here) in late 2017 and early 2018, Samsung's utilization rates at its flexible OLEDs fab were quite low, and its A4 production line was pretty much unused for the time.

But demand for mobile OLED displays is now on the rise, and a report from Korea now suggests that SDC aims to resume flexible OLED production in its A4 line in October 2018 - as the company secured new ordered for smartphone OLEDs from Chinese phone makers.

DisplayMate: Samsung yet again improved their AMOLED displays, the Note 9 has the best mobile display ever

DisplayMate posted a review of Samsung's latest OLED display - the 6.4" 1440x2960 (516 PPI) flexible Super AMOLED used in the Galaxy Note 9. As we've seen many times before, Samsung managed to significantly improve its OLED quality - and DisplayMate says that this is the best mobile display ever tested.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 photo

In the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung concentrated on significantly raising the on-screen absolute picture quality and absolute color accuracy by implementing precision factory display calibration. This could have been a response to the excellent calibration done by Apple in the iPhone X.

OLED Handbook

The Nikkei Asian Review: SDC shipped only 6 million OLED panels to Apple in Q2 2018

The Nikkei Asian Review says that Samsung's OLED shipments to Apple for its iPhone X dropped to only 6 million panels in Q2 2018 (April-June). In Q1 2018, it was estimated that SDC produced almost 20 million panels for Apple. NAR says that SDC expected to ship around 12-15 million panels to Apple's iPhone X in the quarter, so this is a major disappointment for Samsung.

According to this report, the sale's of Apple's iPhone X has been much lower than expected in the past quarter. Apple, however, will reportedly release two new OLED smartphones in 2018 - and in June 2018 DSSC said that SDC's flexible OLED fabs utilization rates have been recovering, as SDC started to produce panels for Apple's 2018 phones, and Samsung's own flagship phones.

Samsung sees stronger demand for flexible OLEDs in H2 2018, but more risks to its rigid OLED sales

Samsung Electronics reported its results for Q2 2018 - revenues reached $52 billion and operating profit grew to $13.3 billion - the lowest growth since Q1 2017 as the company's smartphone sales is under pressure from Chinese phone makers. SDC reports an improved utilization rates at its rigid OLED fabs, but there was a slow demand for flexible OLEDs.

Looking into the second half of the year, Samsung expects increased shipments of flexible OLEDs, while rigid OLEDs will face stronger competition from LCDs. Samsung reitrates its plans to start producing foldable OLEDs by the end of 2018.

CINNO Research details the mobile AMOLED market share by producers

Market analysts from CINNO Research estimate that Samsung Display produced 160.9 million AMOLED displays in H1 2018, which sets SDC's market share in the mobile AMOLED market at 93%. The two other large producers are LG Display and Visionox, both producing 3.5 million panels (2% market share).

AMOLED market share by produces (H1 2018, CINNO)

Both Everdisplay (EDO) and BOE produced 1.7 million panels in the first half of 2018 - or about 1% of the market each. AU Optronics and Tianma produced 0.7 million panels (0.4% market share) and Truly closes the list with a market share of 0.2% (400,000 panels).

Samsung's unbreakable OLED display certified by the US Department of Labor

Samsung Display announced that its unbreakable smartphone panel has been certified Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the official testing company for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. This display was first demonstrated at SID 2018.

This display is not aimed for just smartphones - SDC sees it being used in the automotive market, the defense market, portable game consoles and tablet PCs. The display is a flexible AMOLED on an "unbreakable" substrate with an overlay plastic window securely adhered to it.

DSCC sees a recovery in OLED area production in H2 2018

DSCC says that while it is too early indeed to talk about an OLED recovery from an equipment supplier point of view, the smartphone OLED market is set for substantial growth in the second half of 2018.

Smartphone AMOLED area shipments (2017-2018, DSCC)

Samsung is seeing improved OLED fab utilization, and the company still has some unused capacity at its A4 fab. As the gap between rigid OLED and LCD has fallen to around $5, OLED adoption is rising. In addition, smartphone makers are increasingly using flexible OLEDs in high end devices.

Samsung says it will release a consumer Micro-LED TV in 2019

Samsung Electronics says that it plans to release its first consumer Micro-LED TV next year. The Wall Luxury will be a high-end module, but "will not be priced as high as people think".

Samsung 146'' micro-LED TV, The Wall

Samsung 146-inch Wall Professional TV

The Wall Luxury will be a consumer version of The Wall Professional - which was launched last month and is now available for pre-orders. Samsung disclosed that the Wall Luxury will be thinner than the professional version at 30 mm (The Wall Professional is 80 mm thick). This is still very thick compared to current OLEDs which are less than 5 mm thick.

IHS: LGD is the world's leading AMOLED producer for wearables, followed by SDC, EDO, AUO and BOE

IHS says that LG Display is the world's leading AMOLED supplier for smartwatches and wearables. In 2017 LGD shipped 10.64 million AMOLED displays for smartwatches - and it holds a market share of 41.4% (the total market was 25.7 million units in 2017). LG is the exclusive supplier of AMOLED displays for Apple's watch.

Apple Watch Series 2 photo

Samsung Displays is the 2nd wearable AMOLED Producer, with a 34.8% market share. Everdisplay has a 16.2% share and AU Optronics shipped 5.7% of all wearable AMOLED shipments in 2017. BOE is the fifth largest AMOLED wearable maker with a market share of 1.5%.

ETNews: SDC will make 100,000 foldable OLEDs in 2018, 1 million in 2019

Samsung Display is expected to begin foldable OLED production towards the end of 2018, as Samsung Electronics plans to begin selling foldable phones in the beginning of 2019. A new report from Korea's ETNews gives some new information on Samsung's plans.

According to ETNews, Samsung will soon be ready to start producing foldable OLEDs in a new pilot line in its A3 flexible OLED line. In 2018 the company will only be able to produce 100,000 units, and in 2019 the capacity will be about 1 million. It seems that Samsung is in a hurry to have a product out, and is currently ready to start production with low yields and high production costs (according to GBI estimates, the first foldable phone/tablet will cost over $1,800).

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters