Article last updated on: Jan 15, 2019

What is an OLED display?

An OLED display uses a new technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED screens are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than LCD or Plasma.

OLEDs are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When an electrical current is applied, a bright light is emitted. Since the OLED materials emit light, a backlight is not required (unlike LCDs).

OLEDs in mobile phones

Mobile phones that boast OLED screens are rapidly becoming more prevalent, with over 500 million AMOLED screens produced in 2018 - mostly to satisfy demand from mobile phones. Samsung has been using AMOLEDs in its high-end phones for many years, and most phone makers are also starting to adopt OLED displays (including Apple, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo, Motorola, and others.

Apple iPhone X photo

OLED displays are advancing quickly, and today smartphone AMOLED displays outperform LCDs in all parameters - the flexible 5.8" 1125x2436 OLED (made by SDC) used by Apple's iPhone Xs is considered the best mobile display ever produced.



For a complete list of smartphones and mobile phones with OLED displays, click here.

Further reading

The latest smartphone OLED news:

Google announces its latest Pixel smartphones with OLED displays

Update: Google has removed the P-OLED brand name from their web site - this could have been a mistake, and now we do not know whether these are LGD's displays or not.

Google announced its fourth-generation Android smartphone, the Google Pixel 4, that features a 90Hz 5.7" 1080x2280 (444 PPI) OLED. The Pixel 4 XL features a larger 90Hz 6.3" 1440x3040 (537 PPI) AMOLED display.

Google Pixel 4 photo

Display measurement experts DisplayMate reviewed the display and found that it is a state-of-the-art flexible OLED display that sets or matches several records, including the highest absolute color accuracy, the lowest screen reflectance and the smallest brightness variation with viewing angle.

Samsung is ramping up its foldable OLED production. Or is it?

Samsung recently re-launched its foldable OLED smartphone, the Galaxy Fold - and the $2,000 smartphone seems to be selling well. In September it was reported that Samsung is seeing strong demand in Korea, and now there is a report from Korea that Samsung Display is ramping up its foldable OLED production.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

According to the Korea Herald, SDC has produced 40,000 foldable in August, and had planned to increase that to 67,000 units in September. But it actually produced 92,000 foldable panels in September, and it plans to increase production rate to 102,000 units in October and 99,000 units in November. Samsung's foldable OLED capacity is 3,300 units per day - so it is pretty much running at full capacity now.

The OLED Marketplace, find your OLED here

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.

ETNews: Chinese OLED producers are attempting to find customers in Korea's smartphone industry

In July we reported that LG Electronics is in talks with China-based BOE to supply OLED panels for future smartphones, to replace LGE's current supplier - its sister company LG Display. A new report from Korea's ETNews confirms this, saying that LG Display is focusing on Apple as its future customers, and LGE's small shipments is not critical for the company.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G photo

ETNews also suggests that Samsung Electronics is in early talks with China's CSoT for flexible OLED supply for low-end and mid-tier smartphones. CSoT is not yet producing flexible OLEDs in volume - the company started pilot production in its Wuhan fab in May 2019.

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).

Xiaomi shows a concept smartphone with a flexible OLED wrapped around the edges

Update: it turns out that the display is actually wrapped around almost the entire device, see new video below:

Xiaomi is teasing a new smartphone design, with a concept model it calls the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha. The phone uses a flexible OLED wrapped around the edges.

This is similar to Samsung's edge OLED smartphone designs which has been in production for many years - but Xiaomi is taking it one step further with the display wrapping completely around the edges.

Samsung says there is unexpected demand for its Galaxy Fold phone in Korea

Samsung started shipping its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, on September 6 in Korea, and the company now says that demand for this innovative (and highly expensive at $1,980) phone was strong.

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

Around 4,000 units where sold within ten minutes, and Samsung will now allocate more Galaxy Fold units for the Korean market. Samsung will start offering the phone outside of Korea soon - and in all it hopes to ship around 1 million units within one year of the launch.

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.

An early review says that Samsung's Galaxy Fold is still highly fragile

In April 2019, after early reviewers reported that that the foldable screen in their Galaxy Fold devices broke down after a day or so, Samsung decided to delay the release of its foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. Samsung started shipping the re-designed and improved Galaxy Fold in Korea on September 6.

Samsung took three months to re-design and fix all the issues in the Fold smartphone, it updated the design and upgraded the construction to better protect the device from external particles. An early review now says that the Galaxy Fold may be improved, but it is still not durable enough.

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDsCambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDs