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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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The latest AMOLED news:
China-based BOE Display demonstrated many OLED displays at SID 2019, including new flexible, foldable, rollable and automotive AMOLED displays. Here's a video showing the company's complete SID lineup:
UBI Research says that 110 million AMOLED panels were produced and shipped in Q1 2019, a slight decrease of 0.4% from Q1 2018.
The top AMOLED producer is still of course Samsung Display, which produced 82 million units (75% market share). SDC's revenues were $5.09 billion, down from $5.86 billion in Q1 2018.
Visionox collaborated with visual processing developer PixelWorks to demonstrate how PixelWork's power efficient processors can enhance the visual quality of Visionox's flexible OLED displays. The demo was based a 5.9" 2160x1080 60Hz flexible AMOLED display.
PixelWorks' Iris platform provides a cost effective solution to provide high-end TV-like HDR experience on a smartphone. The processor enables automatic adaptive displays (that can adapt to the ambient conditions, the content on display, color temperatures and more).
China-based display maker TCL announced that its 6-Gen LTPS flexible AMOLED production line in Wuhan has commenced operation. The company already achieved some design wins with "top-class" phone makers and is expected to start shipping OLED displays to its customers in Q4 2019.
TCL's production line in Wuhan (which is actually owned by the company's subsidiary CSoT) will have a production capacity of 45,000 6-Gen substrates.
OnePlus launched it latest flagship smartphones, both of whom utilize high-end AMOLED displays. We'll start with the OnePlus 7 Pro - a flagship smartphone that features a large 6.67" 90Hz 1440x3120 Fluid AMOLED - which apparently is a 90Hz Super AMOLED. This is a full-screen display that has an under-the-display fingerprint sensor.
The OnePlus 7 has a smaller notch-type 6.41" 1080x2340 Optic AMOLED - which is again OnePlus' own display marketing term for an SDC's Super AMOLED. It seems as if OnePlus brands its regular 60Hz AMOLED displays as Optic Displays - and its higher-end 90Hz ones as Fluid AMOLEDs.
Samsung started shipping its flagship tablet the device, the Galaxy Tab S5e - Samsung's thinnest tablet yet at 5.5 mm. The S5e features a 10.5" WQXGA (2560x1600) Super AMOLED display with a 81.8% screen-to-body ratio.
Samsung's Tab S5e offers mid-range performance with a snapdragon 670 octa-core chipset, 4/6 GB of RA and 64/128 GB of storage (with a microSD slot). The 7,040 mAh battery provides up to 14.5 hours. The Galaxy Tab S5e is now shipping starting at $399.
We have added a new OLED panel to the OLED Marketplace, a BOE 0.95" 120x240 AMOLED that has a 4-Wire SPI interface and an embedded touch layer.
In 2010 Universal Display announced a new AMOLED display architecture called RGB1B2 that uses two blue sub-pixels - a fluorescent deep-blue and a phosphorescent light blue. The introduction of a light blue sub-pixel can significantly extend the operational lifetime of an OLED display and reduce the display's power consumption by as much as 33%.
The RGB1B2 was never adopted (one of the reasons is that adding another sub pixel complicates the TFT backplane and has other disadvantages - but the architecture is now again on the table and UDC presented it again at OLED Korea 2019.
Last month Huawei launched its P30 and P30 Pro smartphones (with a 6.1" 1080x2340 AMOLED on the P30 and a 6.47" 1080x2340 AMOLED on the P30 Pro). Reports from China suggested that Huawei adopted SDC AMOLED for the P30 and BOE-made panels on the P30 Pro.
According to Anandtech, who posted an extensive review of the P30 and P30, the supplier for the smaller 6.1" AMOLED on the P30 is indeed Samsung Display, but Huawei uses both LG Display and BOE as suppliesr for the large 6.47" AMOLED on the P30 Pro.
OLED driver maker MagnaChip launched its latest 28 nm OLED Display Driver IC for smartphone displays. MagnaChip says that it is using the world's most advanced process for OLED drivers, which enables it to achieve a 20% reduction in form factor compared to its previous 40 nm process.
In addition to the size reduction, the new process also enabled MagnaChip to reduce the voltage from 1.1V to 1V, which reduces the power consumption by more than 20%, and it also reduces the EMI levels (again, by 20%) which improves the phone's call quality.