Article last updated on: Jan 29, 2019

OLED displays use organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied. OLEDs enable emissive, bright, thin, flexible and efficient displays - and so OLEDs are set to replace LCDs in all display applications - from small displays to large TV sets.

Royole FlexPai developer device photo

AMOLEDs today

AMOLED displays today are used in many applications - and are most common in smartphones. Samsung for example uses AMOLED displays in most of its high-end phones, including the latest Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus and the Note 9. Apple's new iPhones, SmarthWatches, and the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar are all using AMOLEDs. Other AMOLED devices include smartphones from Huawie, Sony, Xiaomi and others.

Samsung GS6 and GS6 Edge photo

AMOLED displays are also used in OLED TVs - which are mostly available from LG. OLED TV screens range from 55" to 77" (88" 8K ones are coming in 2019), and are considered to be the best TV panels ever produced. In 2019 we will have the first rollable OLED TV - LG's 65" Signature OLED R.

AMOLED: Active Matrix OLED

The term AMOLED means Active-Matrix OLED. The 'active-matrix' part refers to the driving electronics, or the TFT layer. When you display an image, you actually display it line by line (sequentially) as you can only change one line at a time. An AMOLED uses a TFT which contains a storage capacitor which maintains the line pixel states, and so enables large size (and large resolution) displays.

AMOLED vs PMOLED

A PMOLED uses a simpler kind of driver electronics - without a storage capacitor. This means that each line is turned off when you move to the next line. So let's say you have 10 rows in your display - each row will only be on 1/10 of the time. The brightness of each row has to be 10 times the brightness you'd get in an AMOLED. So you use more voltage which shortens the lifetime of the OLED materials and also results in a less efficient display. So while PMOLEDs are cheaper to make than AMOLEDs they are limited in size and resolution (the largest PMOLED is only 5", and most of them are around 1" to 3"). Most PMOLEDs are used for character display, and not to show photos or videos.



2 color 0.96-inch PMOLED

Flexible, foldable and rollable AMOLEDs

One of the main advantages of AMOLED displays is that they can be made flexible. Flexible AMOLEDs are already popular for many years in smartphones and wearables, and in 2019 we will experience the first foldable devices and rollable screens.

Transparent AMOLEDs

Several companies are developing large transparent AMOLED displays - and in past years we've seen many prototypes - including a large 55" Full-HD transparent TV. But this technology is not commercial yet, mostly it seems because there are no useful applications that will convince the display makers to mass produce such panels.

Looking to buy an AMOLED display?

Are you looking to adopt an AMOLED display for your device? Several producers are already making panels - including Samsung Display, LG Display, EverDisplay, Truly, Visionox and more. AMOLEDs on the market range from small 1-inch ones for smartwatches through large OLEDs used in tablets and laptops - to large TV panels.

OLED-Info offers the OLED Marketplace, the world's most comprehensive OLED catalog. Just browse the available panels, and let us help you secure the best supplier for your needs.

The latest AMOLED news:

Japan Display starts to produce OLED displays, probably for Apple's watch

In April 2019 Reuters reported that Japan Display (JDI) signed a deal with Apple to supply it with AMOLED displays for its smartwatches, and today JDI's new CEO Minoru Kikuoka said that the company recently started producing OLED displays - likely indeed this is low volume production for Apple's wearables.

Apple Watch Series 5 photo

Apple's Watch Series 5 (its latest generation) features a 324x394 1000-nits always-on LTPO AMOLED display (368x448 on the 44m model). Apple is currently buying these OLED displays exclusively from LGD.

HP announces a laptop with a 13.3" 4K AMOLED display

HP announced a new edition to its 13.3" Spectre x360 13 laptop - which comes with an optional 13.3" 4K AMOLED display. HP will start shipping the Spectre x360 13 OLED in October 2019.HP Spectre x360 13 (2019) photo

This is the first time we hear of this new 13.3" 4K AMOLED display. In 2016 and 2017 Samsung produced 13" laptop OLED displays - but with a lower 2560x1440 resolution. This was used in an 2016 HP Spectre x360 13 laptop and also in some Alienware gaming laptops. In February 2019 Samsung started to produce 15.6" 4K AMOLEDs for laptops - and it's great to hear that it is now adding a smaller laptop display as well.

TechCrunch got a Galaxy Fold for review... and the screen got damaged within one day

Samsung recently re-launched its foldable OLED smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. The company took several months to redesign and make the phone more durable... but it seems as if things are perfect yet.

Screen damage at TechCrunch's Galaxy Fold (September 2019)

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater got a review unit, and the screen got damaged within one day (27 hours, to be precise) of normal use - see photo above - there's a large defect at the center of the photo. Brian said he took good care of the device - just as Samsung suggests. Ironically, when Samsung launched the phone in April, Brian got a unit that worked okay for a few days (until Samsung collected the device back).

DisplayMate: the OLED used in the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max is a top-notch mobile display

DisplayMate tested Apple's latest OLED display, the one used in the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5" 2688x1242 458 PPI) and unsurprisingly found that this is top-notch display. Apple improved on the display used in the 2018 iPhone XS Max in several aspects - including 17% higher full-screen peak brightness and up to 15% higher display power efficiency.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo

DisplayMate especially notes Apple's high-precision display calibration and color accuracy - which is visually Indistinguishable from perfect.

Apple announces its 2019 iPhone and Watch lineup

Yesterday Apple announced its 2019 iPhone and Watch Lineup - with all the devices but one with OLED displays. We'll start with the iPhone 11 Pro which uses a 5.8" notch-type 2436x1125 (458 PPI) AMOLED display and features Apple's latest A13 Bionic chip, 64/256/512GB of storage, a triple camera setup, HDR, FaceID - and is water and dust resistant.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro photo

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is quite similar, but it offers a bigger display - a 6.5" 2688x1242 AMOLED (same PPI - 458). Both phones will ship on September 20. The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 while the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099.

BOE shipped 9.1 million AMOLED displays in H1 2019, warns of weak flexible OLED demand

BOE says that it shipped 9.1 million AMOLED displays in the first half of 2019 - better than expected as Huawei increased its OLED penetration to 24% in Q2 2019 (up from 9% in Q2 2018). BOE though warns of weak demand for flexible OLEDs and the company lowered its 2019 fully-year guidance to 30 million units (down from 30-50 million).

BOE further announced that it will delay the phase 3 of its Chengdu B7 6-Gen OLED fab due to the weak flexible OLED demand. CLSA estimates that BOE ships more than 60% of Huawei's flexible OLED displays. Over 90% of BOE's OLED revenue is attributed to Huawei, but BOE aims to add one or two new customers starting in Q4 2019.

A report from Korea suggests that LGD will produce 10% of Apple's next-gen iPhone OLEDs displays

According to a report from Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, LG Display has passed Apple's quality requirements and has started to produce AMOLED displays for Apple's next generation iPhone, to be announced in September.

Apple iPhone XS photo

According to JoongAng Ilbo, Apple aims to ship around 65 million units of its new smartphones, and has contracted LGD to produce between 6 to 7 million panels, around 10% of Apple's total needs. The rest will be produced by Samsung Display. LGD will produce the displays at its E6 production line in Paju, Korea.

Huawei delays its foldable OLED Mate X smartphone again, will ship by November 2019

In February 2019 Huawei launched its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei originally said it will launch the Mate X by the end of June, but Huawei later said it plans to release it in September and now the company again delays the launch saying that the phone will launch by November.

Back in June Huawei said that it needs more time to test the device and make sure it is durable. It is likely that Huawei is still testing the device - or that Huawei did find some problems and now needs to fix these. It is also possible that the US ban on Huawei is behind this decision. In an

Tianma to establish a 6-Gen flexible OLED fab in Xiamen, in a $6.8 billion investment

China-based Tianma announced that it plans to construct a 6-Gen flexible AMOLED production line in Xiamen. The company will setup a joint-venture with the local government that will help finance the new fab, which will cost an estimated 48 billion Yuan ($6.8 billion USD).

Tianma estimates that it will take 30 months to construct the fab, which means that initial production is estimated to start in February 2022. The new fab, when in full capacity, will product 48,000 6-Gen substrates each month.

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