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AMOLED

Updated with the AMOLED state-of-the-art information  for Full HD Super AMOLED which came with Samsung Galaxy S4 on March 14, 2013.
Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED): An OLED display in which each pixel has its own transistor on/off switch (see TFT and Active Matrix) rather than being activated by its address within a passive matrix of rows and columns. This type of OLED was just entering initial production in mid-2006; most OLED displays of that time were passive matrix (PMOLED). In 2010 AMOLED displaced PMOLED on the market; and as a consequence of that OLED is now used to mean AMOLED in a simple speak.
Active Matrix (AM): A display backplane structure in which switching transistors control the voltage or current for each pixel. It produces a brighter, sharper and faster display with a broader viewing angle than a passive matrix display. Used in reference to both LCDs and OLEDs; used synonymously with TFT (thin-film transistor).
Passive Matrix (PM): Used in reference to both LCDs and OLEDs, passive matrix refers to the drive architecture where only the data and gate lines are controlled. PM displays have lower performance and higher power consumption than active matrix (AM) displays.
imageOrganic Light Emitting Diode (OLED): An OLED is a light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent (used conventionally) or electrophosphorescent (used lately) layer is a film of organic compound which emits light in response to an electric current. This layer of organic semiconductor is situated between two electrodes. An OLED display works without a backlight. Thus, it can display deep black levels and can be thinner and lighter than a liquid crystal display (LCD). In low ambient light conditions such as a dark room an OLED screen can achieve a higher contrast ratio than an LCD, whether the LCD uses cold cathode fluorescent lamps or LED backlight.

Sections of this post:

1. Screen quality
2. RGB Stripe vs. PenTile
3. Pioneering and leading the field of AMOLED technology
4. The advantage of OLED
5. The OLED market and its flexible future
6. Recent News
7. Historical and some more technological background
8. OLED TV

Updates:
Professor Jin Jang and Jang-Joo Kim talking about AMOLED future (from Korea) [Taiwan PIDA YouTube channel, March 6, 2013]

Professor Jin Jang and Jang-Joo Kim talking about AMOLED future 1. Flexible AMOLED outlook 2. 2K4K & OLED in 2013 3. Advantages & drawbacks of LITI [Laser Induced Thermal Imaging] and injet printing processes 4. Transparent display using AMOLED 5. Words to Taiwanese manufacturers

Samsung Display starts mass production of Full HD AMOLED panels [Digital Daily, Feb 6, 2013], the important excerpts in a raw translation by Bing from Korean with manual edits

… According to industry sources, Samsung Display 5-inch Full HD (1920 × 1080) AMOLED panel production for customer orders has been confirmed. As early as the end of February, beginning in early March at the latest, Samsung Mobile division will be able to be supplied with the panel. …

… The main topic of the market in the smartphone industry this year is ‘Full HD’. Japan Display, LG Display and Sharp have already been mass producing from last year liquid crystal display device (LCD) panels that support full HD resolution, to supply their customers. … BOE Inc. from the People’s Republic of China also recently jumped into the market with the mass production of the 5.5-inch LCD and the market plunged. …

In fact this came out later (March 14, 2013 announcement, April 2013 availability) with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 product as ‘Full HD Super AMOLED’. ‘HD Super AMOLED’ was first in the May 2012 announced Galaxy S III, while the February 2011 announced Galaxy S II had a ‘Super AMOLED Plus’, and the Galaxy S announced on June 2010 the ‘Super AMOLED’ display. In section 3. will be more information about that, here just notice how Samsung was able to increase both the size (in inches) of respective AMOLED panels amd the picel density (in ppi):

image

There is another difference between the latest Full HD Super AMOLED and the earlier HD Super AMOLED which is the pixel pattern used. Later in section 2. we will give a detailed explanation what generally the pixel pattern is, but here it is sufficient illustrate it with following images:image

The source for that is a very detailed Chinese article Eight-core Samsung Galaxy S4 exclusive experience optimization evaluation [IT168手机频道(IT168 phone channel, March 14, 2013], also a GizmoChina article in English based on that), in which it is written about the pixel pattern that (as translated by Google and Bing with manual edits)

We found that the Samsung Galaxy S3 uses a “red-green-blue-green-red-green-blue” standard Pentile arrangement, while the Galaxy Note 2 uses red, green and blue, with “red and green sub-pixels sharing a blue”, atypical of the Pentile arrangement. And back to the case of Galaxy S4, this uses the “red-green-green-blue-green-green-red-green-green-blue” double green sub-pixel effect of the Pentile arrangement.
South Korean media had mentioned this pixel pattern before and explained:
  • “By starting to use green PHOLED technology, i.e. organic electrophosphorescent diodes to display green pixels (making organic light emitting devices using soluble low molecular weight material), compared with previous Super AMOLED, could be saving 25% in efficiency.”
Prior to this, the greatest deficiency was that the Pentile screen’s pixel density was less than the theoretical value (which is why Samsung Galaxy S3 PPI exceeded 300, but still could not achieve a Retina screen).
Galaxy S4 calculated according to the pixel pattern, that 3 pixel dots in ordinary Pentile arrangement will contain 7 sub-pixels, ordinary RGB arrangement will contain 9 pixels, but on the screen of the Galaxy S4, 3 pixel points each contain 10 times the pixels. By increasing the sub-pixels to make up for the deficiencies of the PPI, this is what also explains the characteristics of the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S4. From this we can also see that Samsung has been working hard on the screen.

For other information watch this video:
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review [Hover, DualShot, Screen, Processor, etc.] Product Tour 2013 [GermanTechTutorials YouTube channel, March 17, 2013]

Samsung recently revealed its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. Following in the footsteps of the bestselling Android phone on the market, the Galaxy S III, the S4 sports a number of unique new features, while keeping some favorite options from its predecessor.
A Familiar Look
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Galaxy S 4 for the Galaxy S III. The phone sports a very similar look and feel to its predecessor, in a slightly thinner body, with a slightly larger 5-inch screen. The handset is made entirely of polycarbonate, and will be available in two options: black mist and white frost.
The phone has an updated 1080p Super AMOLED screen. Depending on the market you’re in, you’ll get a 1.9Ghz quad-core processor or a 1.6 octa-core processor under the hood as well as 2GB of RAM.
An IR-blaster built into the phone allows it to replace your television’s remote control. Samsung’s WatchOn software works as a virtual TV Guide of sorts to enhance that experience.
A 2,600mAh battery powers the handset, and while Samsung didn’t specify at the event what that 2,600mAh would get you, it did say that it was constantly working on software tweaks to ensure you get the most out of that battery.
The Galaxy S 4 camera saw an improvement on both the hardware and software side of things. The phone has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera.
The handset sports some of the same features at Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, including several of the scene modes as well as the on-screen mode dial. All in all, the phone has 12 different shooting modes.
One particularly noteworthy feature is Samsung’s DualShot, a feature not entirely unlike a feature announced by LG Wednesday, which allows you to take a photo with both the front and rear camera at the same time and then combine the two together into a single photograph.
Another interesting camera feature is Cinema Photo, similar to Cinemagram, which lets you pick one piece of your photo to move, while keeping the others still.
Smart Software
The Galaxy S 4 comes running Android 4.2.2, currently the most recent version of Android. Along with Android’s stock features, Samsung has added a number of other Galaxy-specific software features to the phone that make it stand out from the pack.
Samsung’s Smart Scroll feature allows you to scroll through websites by tilting your phone. A Smart Pause feature lets you control the screen with your eyes. Similar to LG’s ‘Smart Video’ feature, the feature stops and starts video based on whether or not you’re looking at the screen.
If you’re watching a movie and put your phone down to grab a snack, video play will stop until you return and look at the screen again.
Group Play lets you share music, photos and games with the people around you. The feature can also be used to play music together as a group, turning your friend’s phones into a makeshift surround system of sorts. For instance, your phone might play the role of the right speaker, while your friend Bob will be the left. If your friend Sarah decides to join in on the fun, her phone can be the center speaker in your system, and so on.
An Air View features lets you hover your fingers over an email, S Planner, or image gallery to view a larger preview of content before selecting it, and an Air Gesture feature allows you to change a song, scroll through a web page, or answer a call by just waving your hand.
An S Health feature attempts to replace your FitBit, and works as not only a pedometer, but also a way to keep track of what you eat and your sleeping patterns. An optional ‘S Band’ syncs via Bluetooth with your phone and can be used when it might not be practical to tote your S4 along with you.
Finally, S Translate helps you translate your email or text messages into one of nine different languages, using text or voice translation. The feature can translate from both speech-to-text and text-to-speech.

and read this post by a quite recent insider, who is also the founder of CyanogenMod:
On the Galaxy S4 [by Steve Kondik, March 25, 2013] with a brief summary as

I was quite pleased with the S4. Yeah, there is no refresh of the industrial design other than a few minor things such as the edging, but the device actually feels quite a bit more solid than the S3. Specwise, this device blows the competition out of the water. There are a number of unique features that have a lot of potential (assuming Samsung is opening up an API for them) such as the touchscreen which can register “hover” events, and an IR blaster. Benchmarks put this device FAR above the competition (40K on Quadrant CPU) and there should be no reason why it won’t run your favorite apps flawlessly. GPS seems to work better than any other Samsung device, with a lock being acquired instantly in almost any condition. The camera is excellent as well, both front and back.

Finally here is an industry analyst evaluation of the new state-of-the-art for AMOLED:
Samsung Offers Enhanced AMOLED Technology in its Galaxy S4 [by Vinita Jakhanwal, director for mobile and emerging displays and technology at IHS iSuppli, March 19, 2013]

Full High-Definition (HD) pixel format allows AMOLED to better compete with TFT-LCD

The new Galaxy S4 from Samsung Electronics unveiled on March 14 joins a growing trend of premium smartphones featuring enhanced active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panel displays, in line with growing trends calling for large-sized, high-resolution displays on mobile handsets, according to insights from the IHS iSuppli Emerging Displays service at information and analytics provider IHS.
AMOLED display shipments for mobile handset applications are expected to grow at a four-year compound annual growth rate of 26 percent from 195.1 million units in 2013 to 447.7 million units in 2017. Within the mobile handset display market, the market share for AMOLED displays is forecast to grow from 7.9 percent in 2013 to 15.2 percent in 2017. The AMOLED market share for 4-inch or larger handset displays representing the smartphone market is likely to increase from 23.0 percent in 2013 to 24.4 percent in 2017.
For its new premium smartphone, Samsung Display—the AMOLED display supplier for Samsung Electronics—increased the AMOLED pixel format from 1280 x 720 WXGA present in the Galaxy S3, to 1920 x 1080 Full High Definition (Full HD) in the new S4. Part of Samsung’s popular Galaxy line, the S4 joins several high-end smartphone models from other manufacturers also featuring 1920 x 1080 resolution but distinguished by an important difference. The other handsets use thin-film transistor liquid crystal (TFT-LCD) displays, while the Galaxy S4 is the first Full HD smartphone utilizing an AMOLED display.
Among the handsets with 1920 x 1080 TFT-LCD panels are the 4.8-inch HTC One, the 5.0-inch Sony Xperia Z, the 5.0-inch ZTE Grand S, the 5.0-inch OPPO Find, the 5.5-inch LG Optimus G Pro and the 5.5-inch Lenovo Ideaphone K900.
The high-resolution mobile handset display market is currently dominated by Low-Temperature Polysilicon (LTPS) TFT-LCDs, which accounts for the entire Full HD mobile handset display market. Reaching the high-resolution point with true pixel densities greater than 300 pixels per inch (ppi) has been a challenge for AMOLED displays, as it is difficult to achieve dense pixel arrangements using the conventional Fine Metal Mask process while still securing enough display brightness and not compromising power consumption.
Samsung Display, however, was able to enhance AMOLED display performance by implementing two new technologies in addition to its existing Fine Metal Mask process. The maker succeeded in increasing the lighting area in AMOLED panels with its new structure of Pentile matrix, and it used phosphorescent material for the green subpixels, allowing better light management and lower energy consumption. As a result, the AMOLED display was able to achieve a denser pixel arrangement, boosting its pixel density to greater than 400 ppi and resulting in 1920 x 1080 Full HD display in the Galaxy S4. This compares to 1280 x 720 WXGA in the Galaxy S3, 800 x 480 WVGA in the Galaxy S2 and 1280 x 800 WXGA in the Galaxy Note. The higher pixel density provides sharper and more defined images, while being able to display more content on a smaller display area.
Samsung also implemented the Floating Touch system in Galaxy S4, allowing users to interact with the touch screen by letting their fingers hover a few inches away from the display. By combining mutual capacitance, the on-surface normal touch sensing and self-capacitance, the Floating Touch in the Galaxy S4 expands the user experience of the display. It also detects touch inputs from gloved hands, a feature that was first introduced through Nokia’s Lumia 920 in 2012.
Galaxy S4 will be the first Full HD AMOLED display offering in the market. However, material lifetime, color balance and limited supplier base still need to be addressed for a larger market presence of OLEDs and stronger competitiveness against LTPS TFT-LCDs.

End of updates


1. Screen quality

AMOLED screens are mainly used currently in the higher end smartphones. Here is a video which is comparing two AMOLED based top Nokia devices, the earlier Lumia 800  (on the left) with Samsung’s AMOLED PenTile screen and the recent Lumia 820 (on the middle) with an AMOLED RGB Stripe screen presumably from LG Display, and the current overall top Nokia smartphone using an HD IPS screen, the Lumia 920 (on the right):

Note that the Lumia 820 has the same screen (except the Gorilla Glass cover) as the earlier top Lumia 900 smartphone which became available in April 2012. This is important because in the latest Tablet and Smartphone Displays Under Bright Ambient Lighting Shoot-Out Master Photo Grid for Viewing Screen Shots of all the Displays by the most widely recognized expert, Dr. Raymond M. Soneira from DisplayMate Technologies Corporation found the following:

The Winner:  The DisplayMate Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light for the displays ranges from a low of 15 (HTC Desire) to a high of 90 (Nokia Lumia 900). From both the Lab Measurements and the Screen Shot Viewing Tests (below) the top performing device for display viewability under Bright Ambient Lighting is the Nokia Lumia 900. This results from a combination of its high screen Brightness and low screen Reflectance, which Nokia calls ClearBlack technology. The Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone 4 are tied for second place. The best Tablets all performed a notch below the Smartphones  –  the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was the leader, with the iPad 2 in second place. The new iPad (not included below) performs better than the iPad 2 and just behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The other Smartphones and Tablets performed well below these top models  –  ALL manufacturers need to pay much more attention to their display performance in high Ambient Lighting because that is frequently how they are used. The highly touted and advertised display Contrast Ratio applies only to Absolute Darkness, which makes it pretty much irrelevant for mobile devices. Note that we plan on including the Lumia 900 in one of our upcoming Smartphone Shoot-Outs.

The fact that Nokia introduced a HD IPS screen for its latest Lumia 920 is showing nevertheless that AMOLED is not a panacea as there are still great improvement possibilities in the IPS line of LCDs (which includes the FFS succession as well). The screen specifications of the Lumia 920 are impressive indeed:
ClearBlack
Corning® Gorilla® Glass
HD IPS
LCD transmissive
Luminance 600 NITS
Pixel Density 332 PPI
Puremotion HD+
RGB Stripe
Nokia explains: What’s so unique about PureMotion HD+ feature? [NokiaIndiaOfficial YouTube channel, Jan 9, 2013]
PureMotion HD+ display delivers fastest 60HZ refresh rate; provides a bright display and comes with the most sensitive touch screen. That means you can tap and slide with keys, stylus or even gloves. And best of all, it has the highest pixel density display in the industry. Click here to know more : http://bit.ly/WcO5u8
This is all in addition to the already existing ClearBlack Display (CBD) display technology, also unique to Nokia and already described in detail in The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011 – April 18, 2012] post on this blog. Also the HD IPS of the Lumia 920 is presumably a further derivation of IPS similar to the AH-IPS technology from LG Display and True HD IPS of LG Mobile LTE superphones: Nitro HD (AT&T) and Spectrum (Verizon)  [Jan 19, 2012] also described in detail on this blog.

The real difference in practical terms is best seen in the video below when the iPhone 4s (on the left) being least saturated is compared to HTC One X (on the middle) and to the most saturated Lumia 900 (on the right):

A quick look at the differences between the top 3 smartphones on AT&T. Look at the color, resolution, and quality differences.


2. RGB Stripe vs. PenTile

Then we have different pixel patterns which are influencing the picture quality as perceived by the users: the already mentioned (in the first video) PenTile and RGB Stripe.

First read: The PenTile Vision [Nouvoyance, Dec 10, 2010]

Pentile OLED is designed to allow for high resolution with high brightness, equivalent lifetime and improved manufacturability.

AM OLEDs (active matrix organic light emitting diodes) are an emerging technology with many properties that have been created customer enthusiasm:
    • Superior color gamut
    • Extraordinary viewing angle performance
    • Video fast response time
    • Power savings for many types of image content
    • Ultra-thin design
    • More rugged than LCDs
      It has been a challenge to fabricate OLEDs in the high resolution formats that are needed for smartphones and other mobile product designs. With such high pixel density it is difficult to use the shadow mask process for depositing the OLED material. Also, to attain the high brightness that is expected for smartphones, the current density that is experienced for RGB stripe designs becomes excessive, forcing manufacturers to make compromises in brightness and/or lifetime.
      All PenTile OLED displays process data at a full 24-bits of color, however some handset makers offer only 5-6-5 color as an input to the PenTile OLED driver chip. Be assured that internally the data is processed at even higher bit depth to enable a superior viewing experience. Using methods similar to the subpixel rendering (SPR) that is used for PenTile RGBW for LCDs, a new layout, together with a corresponding set of image processing algorithms, optimizes the performance of PenTile OLED for mobile applications.
      Shown below is the layout for RGB stripe, compared to the layout for PenTile OLED. Note that the green subpixels are half as wide as the red or blue and there are more of them. This has been done to take advantage of the sensitivity of the human vision system to the localization of green subpixels. While the human eye cannot localize blue subpixels very well, we are very capable of localizing green. Reducing the number of subpixels also allows for a better fill factor and a reduced current density, leading to extended lifetime at higher brightness.

      image

      PenTile OLED now only requires 4 columns to write one black and white line pair, rather than the 6 required for a legacy RGB stripe design. Together with this layout, there are special algorithms that analyze the images for special features and apply adaptive image processing to reduce artifacts associated with moiré, aliasing and other detriments to the visual experience

      Them the recent PENTILE AND SHARP EYESIGHT [PenTile blog, Oct 10, 2012] post is the best to explain the issue with PenTile. I will excerpt here just a part of a critical comment on PenTile:

      I went to a Verizon store recently to look for a good replacement for my old Droid, and the widespread adoption of PenTile displays is significantly reducing my options.  The contrast, brightness, and saturation of Super AMOLED displays is excellent, and to my eyes they look superior to LCDs from a distance of a few feet or more, but held close enough to read, the PenTile checkerboard pattern is very apparent and distracting, especially at ppis in the mid 200s.  It’s less perceptible at 300-330 ppi in the latest applications, but still noticeable enough that I wouldn’t want to own one.
      For people who just don’t get it, and think PenTile displays look fine, try reading small text and looking at colorful and detailed pictures and icons on one through a powerful magnifying glass for a whileThat’s what it looks like to some people all the time!  Then do the same with an LCD, and even if you can see the sub-pixel pattern it doesn’t look nearly as annoying.  In fact, I would take a full RGB display over a PenTile display with the same number of sub-pixels any day, even though the ppi would be almost 20% lower and the brightness would be somewhat lower.  I can’t wait until Super AMOLED Plus (full RGB AMOLED) or 400+ ppi PenTile displays become mainstream.

      and the response by Joel Pollack, executive vice president of Nuovoyance, the “independent technology development and fabless semiconductor company that has developed PenTile®technology”:

      First of all let me say that I am sorry to hear that PenTile displays are so bothersome to you.  I have no doubts that there are people like yourself who can resolve as high as 50-60 cycles/degree.  For people like yourself there is no doubt that the pattern visibility of PenTile is more apparent and can be bothersome.
      imageLooking at the chart you can see that normal vision is nowhere this good.  Sensitivity to luminance contrast modulation for normal human vision falls off significantly at 25 cycles/degree.  The ability to resolve chroma is far less as you can see in the 2D version of the plot to the right.
      Nouvoyance has never recommended the use of PenTile for 200 PPI smartphone designs.  In my opinion even a 4” WVGA [800×400] at 233 PPI is stretching the application of PenTile a bit far, but even that is 24 cy/deg if viewed at 30 cm.  As you can see in the chart the cycles/degree is determined by first stating what your normal viewing distance is for a device.  For example, people rarely complain about TVs which have horribly coarse patterns, because they do not use them up close.
      imagePerhaps your ability to resolve high cycles per degree is not as much the issue as your ability to look at your phone from an incredibly short distance.  The ability to accommodate at such short distances can be both a blessing an a curse.  If you can focus on a display from 10 cm could also easily explain why you see these patterns so readily.  Do you, for example, also see the pattern easily on the Galaxy SII which is an RGB stripe OLED?  It is no finer pitch for subpixels than PenTileIf you see it, but find it less bothersome, this means that you have learned to adapt to that pattern and have not been able to do so for the PenTile pattern.
      imageIn the transition from CRTs to RGB stripe LCDs there were many people who had considerable difficulty in adapting to the visibility of the “jailbars”, but, over time, most people have benefited from visual adaption and were able to separate out the image information from the pattern.  Similarly, most people are not trouble by looking through window screens despite their intrusion on visibility. While I have never personally met anyone who could see the PenTile pattern in the Galaxy S3 at ~300PPI, I never doubted that such people like yourself existed.
      There are also people who have the ability to see flicker better than most of the population.  They have a horrible time with the field sequential nature of TI based projectors.  They, too, have had to look at projectors in conference rooms that drive them nuts in a market where the technology was proliferating.
      So let me give you the bad news first.  There is no technical solution for replacing PenTile in OLED smartphone displays on the horizonThe highest pitch that has been recently demonstrated is ~260PPI which will go into the Galaxy Note IIBeyond that, the OLED display industry must use PenTile to maintain a reasonble lifetime and brightness for the blue subpixels.  I had the occasion to chat with Professor Tang, the co-inventor of  OLED technology two weekends ago when he spoke at the 50th Anniversary of SID.  I asked him if the lifetime issue for blue OLED material was fundamental, or if there is a good solution on the horizon.  He explained to me that the energetics involved in blue quantum excitation was at just the right level to break the bonds in the OLED materials.  He doesn’t see a solution in the forseeable future.  For this reason, I predict that you will continue to see many PenTile displays in OLED phones.    Furthermore, we are now seeing critical issues with battery life for tablets, so the ability to cut power consumption in half with PenTile RGBW LCDs will soon bring more PenTile LCDs to the market, starting with WQXGA [2560×1600] formats of ~300PPI.  Most people will be delighted, but you, no doubt, will not.
      Now for the good news.  There are already LCD alternatives available at your local phone provider for smartphones usng LTPS, and perhaps soon IGZO based backplanes that will give decent performance at 300 PPI.  These may not have the color gamut or response speed of the curent AMOLEDs, but they will be less troublesome for your vision.  The other good news is that the trend for increased resolution continues.  We will be seeing displays continue to 400PPI and 450PPI before too long.  I am guessing that even your vision will not be troubled by PenTile technology when we get there and you may even appreciate the improvements to power efficiency and/or brightness that PenTile technology will bring to LCDs.

      And here is another post from Pollack in order to have an even better understanding WHY PENTILE TECHNOLOGY IMPROVE OLED LIFETIME [PenTile blog, May 12, 2012]

      Many bloggers have picked up on comments that Philip Berne of Samsung made at a recent press event.  He explained that the reason that Samsung chose PenTile Super AMOLED over RGB stripe AMOLED was that of lifetime, specifically that of blue subpixels.  He is exactly right, but let me explain this a little more.
      AMOLEDs have lifetime that is related to the current density used to drive the OLED material.  This is especially true for blue since blue has the lowest brightness for a given amount of current.  The other way to say this is that blue OLED material has lower luminous efficiency.  To maintain the same brightness with blue, OLED display designers have to drive it with more current per unit area.
      So how does PenTile technology help Samsung to extend lifetime for high resolution panels?
      This comes from the ability to use 2/3s the number of subpixels in PenTile OLED (Super AMOLED)  relative to RGB stripe OLED (Super AMOLED Plus).  Thanks to PenTile technology’s use of subpixels rendering it is possible to have the same number of pixels as the equivalent RGB stripe.  With only 2/3s the subpixels, one can make the ratio of driven subpixel area larger with a smaller overall percentage of space in between subpixels (better fill factor), as compared to RGB stripe – which is what gives rise to the improvement in current density for a given brightness,  which in turn leads to better lifetime.
      For lower pixel pitch, such as was used in the Galaxy S Plus, the current density was relatively low due to the coarser pixel pitch so the lifetime was fine.  But, at the pixel density of the Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S III, PenTile is the way to go, at least until sometime in the future when significant strides are made in blue OLED material luminous efficiency.  As I have said before, PenTile is an enabler that make high resolution OLED practical for the product brightness and lifetimes specs that we all have come to demand.   This is why you have never seen any production OLED  of greater than 250 dpi without a PenTile configuration.  If the demand for ever increasing pixel pitch continues, PenTile will still be key even if blue luminous efficiency sees some level of enhancement.

      Some more posts by Joe Pollack worth to read:
      DOES PENTILE HAVE FUZZY TEXT?! [PenTile blog, June 5, 2011]
      PENTILE – A GIMMICK? [PenTile blog, July 21, 2011]
      PENTILE RGBW ENABLES THE BRIGHTEST OF SMARTPHONES [PenTile blog, Aug 1, 2011]
      WILL INCREASES IN PROCESSING POWER OUTPACE PENTILE RGBW LCD SAVINGS IN DISPLAY POWER? [PenTile blog, Nov 18, 2011]
      PENTILE SUPER AMOLED CHOSEN FOR DISPLAY APPLICATION GOLD AWARD – 2ND YEAR IN A ROW [PenTile blog, June 8, 2012]

      There is one organization that is more focused than any other on displays—the Society for Information Displays, now celebrating its 50 year anniversary.  Display Week is held each year as a gathering of the world’s display experts.  After evaluating every new display component that has been introduced into products this past year SID selected the display in the Samsung Galaxy Note for the gold award winner.  You might recall that the display in the Samsung Galaxy S won this award last year.  So, for two years in a row a PenTile OLED panel has been awarded this coveted honor.

      http://www.androiddoes.net/breaking-news/galaxy-note-wins-display-industry-award-at-sid-2012/

      See also: AMOLED Displays in Smartphones [OLED Association, Nov 29, 2012]


      3. Pioneering and leading the field of AMOLED technology

      imageSamsung Display Co., Ltd. was established in July 2012 as a core Samsung company providing cutting-edge display solutions. With highly advanced technological capabilities, Samsung Display offers a comprehensive range of displays, including products featuring AMOLED and LCD technologies. The AMOLED competency came from Samsung Mobile Displays which was formed from Samsung SDI’s and Electronics’ OLED units in 2008. Was first with AMOLED in 2001.

      image2007 was the year when Samsung started producing AMOLED displays. Its technology reached the peak point in October 2011 with the launch of Galaxy Note featuring the world’s first 5.3’’ HD Super AMOLED display (when the annual handset production by Samsung achieved 300 million units for the first time in company’s history). So let see what these different AMOLED types mean practically:
      [Current] AMOLED [display types] explained [recombu YouTube channel, May 2, 2012]

      AMOLED displays have been mystifying mobile users since they first gained mainstream traction on devices like the Samsung Omnia HD and Omnia 2. With so many different types of AMOLED on the scene, it’s high time someone put together a guide seperating the AMOLEDs from the Super AMOLEDs, decoding the meaning of the word ‘Plus’ and letting you know when to put an ‘HD’ before your ‘Super’. For the full article, just check out Recombu.com: http://ow.ly/aJqfV
      Galaxy Note, as the device with best AMOLED display, reached 5 million sales by end of March, 2012. On May 3, 2012 Samsung announced the Galaxy S III which also had a HD Super AMOLED display, a 4.8” one. 20 million sales of that device was reported on September 6, just for 100 days being on the market. Another milestone of 30 million sales was reported on November 12, for approximately five months. This was incredible acceleration of Samsung’s high-end program as the previous Galaxy S II announced on February 11, 2011, with the earlier generation Super AMOLED Plus 4.3” display, reached the 20 million milestone in sales in 10 months (Feb 24, 2012) since its market debut in late April 2011. Relative to the earliest attempts with Samsung I7110 announced on Oct 23, 2008, and Samsung i8910HD (Omnia HD) announced on February 16, 2009, both with AMOLED (and running Symbian), as well as the Windows Mobile based Samsung Omnia II launched on July 15, 2009, that was a massive advance. In fact that advance started with Samsung Galaxy S portfolio announced for the US market on June 29, 2010 using Super AMOLED (and powered by Android 2.1), which was decisively tied to Android/Google platform by the Oct 19, 2011 announcement of Galaxy Nexus, the world’s first smartphone running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and also featuring a 4.65” HD Super AMOLED display (the same technology as the Galaxy Note).

      As a result of all that the company is now proud to announce that Samsung Display Achieves Milestone – Exceeding 300 Million OLED Panel Production Mark [Samsung Display press release via BusinessWire, Jan 23, 2013]

      Samsung Display Co., Ltd., a global leader in display panel technologies and products, announced today that it has exceeded 300 million panels in cumulative OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) panel production since mass production began in January 2007 [according to Samsung Display’s official history “Mass produced AMOLED for the first time in the world” in October 2007].
      Piling all 300 million Samsung OLED panels on top of one another would equal more than 68 times the height of Mt. Everest. That volume averages out to having produced more than 470,000 panels a day, or 5.4 panels a second.

      While it took Samsung Display four and a half years to reach the initial 100 million production mark for OLED panels, the next 100 million units were produced in just eleven months, and the last 100 million units were produced in only seven months.

      image

      Samsung Display held a ceremony to commemorate the 300 million production milestone today at Samsung Display City located in Asan city, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea, which was attended by its president and more than 300 other employees.
      Kinam Kim, the president and CEO of Samsung Display, said at the ceremony, “After six years of nearly constant production, we have achieved a monumental milestone in producing 300 million panels, which represents the vast majority of OLED panels produced during that time.” He added, “Samsung Display will accelerate its leadership in OLED production by introducing the next generation OLED technology, including large-sized TV panels and flexible displays.”

      image

      Samsung Display has 98 percent market share in the OLED panel market. Its OLED technology is considered the premium technology for the next generation of displays due to OLED’s high color gamut, more vivid and natural images than conventional display technologies, and optimized features for future displays including flexible and transparent display technologies.

      Since Samsung Display mass produced the world’s first OLED panels in 207, its OLED displays have been used in smartphones, tablet PCs and digital cameras.
      About Samsung Display Co., Ltd.
      Samsung Display Co., Ltd. is a global leader in display panel technology and products. Employing approximately 39,000 people at seven production facilities and nine sales offices worldwide, Samsung Display specializes in high-quality displays for consumer, mobile, IT and industrial usage, including those featuring OLED (organic light emitting diode) and LCD technologies. As a total solution provider, Samsung Display strives to advance the future with next-generation technologies featuring ultra-thin, energy-efficient, flexible and transparent displays. For more information, please visit www.samsungdisplay.com [or blog.samsungdisplay.com in Korean].


      4. The advantage of OLED

      2001 was the year when the news came that SAMSUNG Electronics LCD Monitor Sales Break 2 Million Mark [Samsung press release, Nov 1, 2001] which made the company #1 in the LCD market and showed the excellent execution of the effort started as an R&D arm of Samsung Electronics in 1991. The company developed an 8.4-inch Full-Color AMOLED in 2001 as well, first time in the world. This was also the year when it began a PMOLED business by establishing Samsung NEC Mobile Display Corporation.

      So why Samsung was the only large player taking so seriously both approaches to the future of display technologies? Why a pioneer and a leader of TFT LCD technology took such a different road with OLED (AMOLED) technology as well? Below we will examine those questions in detail:

      Difference between AMOLED and TFT [Samsung Mobile via MrNbond YouTube channel, Sept 19, 2011]

      The Elegant Simplicity of an OLED – a slide from [Universal Display Corporation investors’ conference presentation, February 2012]

      image

      • An Organic Light Emitting Diode is a series of organic thin films [also called “organic stack] between two conductors
      • When electrical current is applied, bright light is emitted
      • OLEDs can be used for displays and lighting
      • OLEDs are not just thin and efficient – they can also be made flexible and transparent

      In the year later “Universal Display Corporation Needham & Co. 15th Annual Growth Conference January 15, 2013” presentation the “organic stack” is detailed as follows:

      image

      where:
      – ETL: Electron-Transport Layer
      – EML: EMissive (EMitting) Layer (Emitter + Host)
      – HTL: Hole-Transport Layer
      – HIL: Hole-Injection Layer

      How Substantial Is the Opportunity for Universal Display Investors? [Fool.com via DailyFinance, Jan 18, 2013]

      Since OLEDs consist of organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied, there is no need for a separate backlight like in traditional displays. This facilitates thinner form factors and improved power efficiency. OLED displays can also be made flexible and transparent because of this attribute, paving the way to new possible use cases. Other advantages include faster refresh rates, better contrast, higher brightness levels, lighter weight, and increased durability.

      However, there are still some disadvantages relative to traditional LCD displays, such as decreased lifetimes, particularly for blue materials. Red and green have much more adequate lifetimes, but a display panel is held back by its lowest common denominator, since two primary colors are no good without the third. Manufacturing costs remain high, and OLEDs don’t perform as well in direct sunlight.

      Universal Display specializes in phosphorescent OLED technologies, or PHOLED, which are more efficient than traditional fluorescent OLEDs, as well as LCDs. Universal Display has two primary businesses: material sales, and royalty and license fees. Total revenue quadrupled from 2009 to 2011.

      With materials sales, PPG Industries is the exclusive manufacturer of Universal Display’s proprietary phosphorescent OLED materials. The two companies have partnered in OLED material production for over a decade (since 2000), and a year ago renewed their supply agreement through the end of 2014.
      Material sales consist of phosphorescent emitter materials and host materials. Emitter materials are disbursed into a host material to create displays, and sales of these materials are highly complementary to each other. Universal Display’s customers are free to purchase host materials from other sources, and the host materials market is more competitive than the phosphorescent emitter material market, so its long-term prospects in host materials sales are more uncertain.
      Samsung is Universal Display’s largest customer, and inked a long-term contract where Samsung pays licensing fees as well as purchasing materials through 2017. Universal Display’s agreement with Samsung involves annual licensing fees of $30 million, payable in two semi-annual installments of $15 million in each of the second and fourth quarters. This licensing revenue is subject to a 3% royalty fee from Universal Display’s university partners as well as 16.5% in South Korean taxes, for a total of 19.5% right off the top.
      LG Display is Universal Display’s second-largest customer, and has yet to ink a long-term contract, instead opting to continue short-term renewals of its original 2007 contract. The Samsung deal has added some visibility to royalty revenue, and a similar LG deal would also further validate the business.

      UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > What is a PHOLED?

      A PHOLED phosphorescent OLED is an OLED that has up to four times higher efficiency than that of a conventional fluorescent OLED.

      OLEDs are monolithic, solid-state devices that typically consist of a series of organic thin films sandwiched between two thin-film conductive electrodes. When electricity is applied to an OLED, charge carriers (holes and electrons) are injected from the electrodes into the organic thin films. Then, under the influence of an electrical field, these carriers migrate through the device, until they recombine forming excitons. Once formed, these excitons, or excited states, relax to a lower energy level by giving off light and/or heat.

      With conventional fluorescent emission, only about 25% of the excitonic energy generates light, with the remaining 75% lost as heat. Through the use of certain phosphorescent materials, our university partners at Princeton University and the University of Southern California discovered in the late 1990s that up to 100% of the excitonic energy could be converted into light.

      This discovery was a major breakthrough. It meant that OLEDs could be up to four times more efficient than previously through possible – enabling OLEDs to compete today with LCDs as well as incandescent and fluorescent lighting in the future.

      UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > Features and Performance

      … Today, our reds and greens offer extremely long lifetimes under a variety of operating conditions, and our blues continue to improve toward commercial entry targets.  Our enhanced light-blue phosphorescent OLED emitter system with a 2x improvement in lifetime offers the potential for significantly reduced power consumption and extended operational lifetime in OLED devices for both display and lighting applications.  For lighting applications, it may accelerate the introduction of a variety of initial commercial products where high-efficacy, warm-white emission is important.  The new system also offers key performance advances for displays when used in Universal Display’s new four sub-pixel format.  …

      UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > P2OLEDs

      UniversalP2OLED® printable, phosphorescent OLED materials and technology are under development to combine the high efficiency of the company’s UniversalPHOLED® technology with potential low-cost solution processing techniques, like ink-jet printing and slot coating.  The company has recently made significant advances in its UniversalP2OLED technology and materials.

      UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > Power Consumption

      UniversalPHOLED technology and materials have become recognized for their key role in making OLEDs well suited for battery-operated mobile devices, such as smart phones, as well as for large-area TVs and white lighting.  To demonstrate this advantage, we have modeled the power consumption of an active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) using our UniversalPHOLED technology and material, as compared to an AMLCD [Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display].  Based on a 4” diagonal display, operating at 300 cd/m2 with video rate (40% pixels on), the power savings are significant.
      image
      Low temperature rise
      Because electrical energy that is not converted into light is converted into heat, displays and lights generally experience a temperature rise while operating. This elevated temperature becomes especially palpable in a large-sized OLED TV or lamp. PHOLED technology can dramatically reduce this increase. For example, the temperature rise in the FL-OLED TV would be about 30°C while the temperature rise would be reduced to 10 – 17°C with PHOLED technology (assuming a 40” diagonal AMOLED). A low operating temperature is very important. It prolongs OLED lifetime as degradation increases with increasing temperature. It also reduces the amount of air conditioning required to remove the generated heat – making PHOLED technology an important element in any “green” or environmental building strategy.
      Backplane compatibility
      Today, amorphous silicon (a-Si) backplane technology is the incumbent for AMLCDs, with a mature, low-cost installed manufacturing base. Low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS), a relative newcomer, uses more complex and therefore higher cost processes. However, LTPS is higher performance – offering higher carrier mobility so that driving circuitry can be integrated directly onto the substrate for lower cost, esp. for small-area displays. In addition, as LTPS transistors can be smaller than their a-Si counterparts, they can ease the fabrication of very high resolution displays. Conventional wisdom has also suggested that the higher mobility of LTPS would be required to meet OLED’s high current drive conditions. This was the case until PHOLED technology was developed. The lower current drive of a PHOLED reduces the current requirements of the TFT backplane, thus reducing its mobility requirements. As a result, PHOLED technology has become a key enabler for the possible use of a-Si backplanes in large-area displays. In the future, PHOLEDs may also help enable the adoption of lower-cost organic TFTs.  Also, there is an increasing interest in pursuing metal oxide TFTs for display backplanes. Once again, the lower current requirements of our PHOLEDs lowers the power consumed in the backplane.  As a result, our PHOLED technology should also work very well with metal oxide TFT technology as it matures into production.

      UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > Overview

      Organic Light Emitting Device (OLED) technology is emerging as a leading technology for displays and lighting. OLEDs possess key performance features including vibrant color, high contrast ratios, full-motion video, and wide viewing angles.
      With Universal Display’s proprietary UniversalPHOLED® Phosphorescent OLED technology, OLEDs can also be up to four times more efficient than previously thought possible. This means that OLED displays can consume substantially less power in cell phone and TV applications than current LCDs do. And, white phosphorescent OLED light sources have the potential to be more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lighting – with significant energy savings to be realized on a global scale. In an increasingly energy-conscious and environmentally-minded world, PHOLED technology and materials are vital for meeting the OLED design requirements of portable electronics, TVs, and lighting.
      In commercial use since 2003, PHOLED technology and materials offer key features that translate into performance advantages over conventional fluorescent OLED technology. View a video. These will enable OLEDs to compete with existing LCDs and lighting products. They include:
        • Record-breaking energy efficiencies
        • Vibrant colors
        • Long operating lifetimes
        • Thermal stability for manufacturing use
        • Manufacturing versatility
        • Environmentally-friendly
        With this rich set of features, PHOLED technology can enhance the performance of your displays and lighting products – providing real power savings advantages – for longer battery operation in portable electronics and less energy consumption in larger display and lighting products.

        See also:
        Phosphorescent OLED Technologies: The Next Wave [UDC presentation by Michael Hack on Plastic Electronics Conference, Oct 9, 2012]
        UDC Home > Technology > PHOLEDs > Novel Processes
        Phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode [Wikipedia, from Sept 23, 2005]


        5. The OLED market and its flexible future

        The Flat Panel Display Market [in the Universal Display Corporation 10-K filing for SEC, Feb 23, 2012]

        Flat panel displays are essential for a wide variety of portable consumer electronics products, such as cell phones, portable media devices, digital cameras, tablets and laptop computers. Due to their narrow profile and light weight, flat panel displays have also become the display of choice for larger product applications, such as desktop computer monitors and televisions.
        Liquid crystal displays, or LCDs, continue to dominate the flat panel display market. However, we believe that OLED displays are an attractive alternative to LCDs because they offer a number of potential advantages, including:
          • higher power efficiencies, thereby reducing energy consumption;
          • a thinner profile and lighter weight;
          • higher contrast ratios, leading to sharper picture images and graphics;
          • wider viewing angles;
          • faster response times for video; and
          • lower cost manufacturing methods and materials.
            Based on these characteristics, product manufacturers have adopted small-area OLED displays for use in portable electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Manufacturers are also working to commercialize OLED displays for use in larger applications, such as computer monitors and televisions. We believe that if these efforts are successful, they could result in sizeable markets for OLED displays.
            In addition, due to the inherent transparency of organic materials and through the use of transparent electrode technology, OLEDs eventually may enable the production of transparent displays for use in products such as automotive windshields and windows with embedded displays.
            imageOrganic materials also make technically possible the development of flexible displays for use in an entirely new set of product applications. Such applications include display devices that can be conformed to certain shapes or even rolled up for storage. [The slide is from “Universal Display Corporation Needham & Co. 15th Annual Growth Conference January 15, 2013” presentation. imageNote that on a year earlier investors’ conference presentation the chart on the left was the same, while the box on the right was as shown here on the right. The difference between the two is:
            – the Universal Communication Communication Device (UCD) shown as the top opportunity on the recent version (also shown on a separate slide you could see below in the “Flexible Future” text) and
            – the new flexible prototype developed for the US DoD (and also financed by them) shown in the middle which was developed in collaboration with LG Display.
            The
            “Samsung Electronics reports plans to launch products with flexible OLEDs in 2012, probably starting with mobile phones” statement was true a year ago, but in Q3 2012 ”TV for both LG and Samsung has pushed out as well as flexible” as it was communicated on the company’s earnings call for that quarter (see in the “Recent News” section after this introduction).
            imageThe year ago presentation had also a separate “UDC PROTOTYPE DELIVERED TO CERDEC” slide which was showing a quite different flexible OLED display, as you could see from the image inserted here on the left.
            FYI: CERDEC is the U.S. Army Communication Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center. More information is in the company’s press release:
            UNIVERSAL DISPLAY DELIVERS WRIST-MOUNTED FLEXIBLE PHOSPHORESCENT OLED DISPLAY PROTOTYPES TO U.S. ARMY FOR FIELD TESTING [Oct 6, 2010]]

            Samsung Flexible Display at CES 2013: ‘YOUM’ [SamsungTomorrow YouTube channel, Jan 11, 2013]

            At the Keynote of CES 2013 with the theme of ‘Mobilizing Possibilities’, Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of Samsung Display introduced the company’s innovative flexible display, ‘YOUM’.

            imageimage[0:48 – 1:16] The first demo prototype is for the flexible OLED technology itself.

            [1:20 – 2:00] The second demo is for a bended YOUM prototype device having a screen curving beyond the edge of the display.

            imageimage[2:38 – 4:23]  Video about how the new display future of devices with bended, foldable and rollable screens will play out. First showing a concept device (see on the left) which has a foldable screen in order to have a hybrid of both a tablet and a phone. Next a universal device concept is shown with a rollable screen (see above on the right).

            Note that Brian Berkeley has even more contribution to Samsung’s OLED strategy as noted in Ex-Apple ex-pat leads Samsung’s OLED TV push [EE Times, May 5, 2010]:

            GIHEUNG, South Korea — When you travel all the way here, the last thing you expect is to meet an ex-Apple engineer who has morphed into a hot shot at Samsung Electronics, committed to pushing OLED for large-size TVs.
            Meet Brian Berkeley, vice president of OLED R&D Center at Samsung Mobile Display Co.
            In the exclusive global circle of OLED experts, Berkeley is the closest thing to a “rock star,” according to Joe Abelson, vice president of displays research at iSuppli. Berkeley’s presence in Giheung speaks volumes about Samsung’s commitment to lead the industry by recruiting the best and the brightest from around the world, Abelson said
            Berkeley, whose passion is flat-panel display technology, left Apple and a comfortable home of Saratoga, Calif., in November, 2003, and he relocated — along with his family — to South Korea for the duration.
            Samsung, the world’s largest LCD panel manufacturer, is increasingly confident in the future of OLEDs — not just for smartphone displays, for which Samsung is the biggest manufacturer and supplier, but also for large-size TVs, especially 3-D TV.
            OLED TV is no longer a “science fair” project. Samsung’s faith in the technology is backed by the company’s volume production experience of OLED displays over the last 18 months.
            Ever since the company began OLED mass production in late 2008, “We have significantly improved yields and line efficiency,” Berkeley said. “Material development has been accelerated, backplane technology improved and a number of advancements made in color patterning.” Without divulging specifics of the “unique solutions” developed by Samsung, Berkeley said, “Large-size OLED TVs are viable.”

            Samsung’s all OLED teams under one roof
            Samsung brought together all its OLED development teams under one roof in January, 2009, by establishing a new company called Samsung Mobile Display (SMD). SMD, now with 400 people, is no longer, by any standards, a skunkworks.

            Through joint financing from Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, SMD is set up to “draw upon Samsung Electronics’ market-leading capabilities for LCD panels and its large-scale Active Matrix OLED R&D, and from Samsung SDI’s AM OLED mass production technology and its development capabilities for LCD modules,” according to Samsung.
            Indeed, SMD already created the world’s only high-volume OLED manufacturing line (a Gen 4 plant in Cheonan), with $3 billion revenue [investment] in 2009. In 2010, 20 percent of smart phones are projected to use OLED for their displays. By 2015, 50 percent of smart phones will be using OLED, predicted Samsung.
            Berkeley originally came to Korea in 2003 for LCD research. But “the most exciting thing right now is OLED,” he noted.
            Even before talking about the future of OLEDs for flexible devices that can be folded or rolled for storage, Berkeley firmly believes that “OLED 3-D TV is superior to LCD 3-D TV.” He said, “There will be no ghost images and it can offer eye-popping good quality.”
            It’s mainly because fast OLED response time leads to complete separation of left and right images. Berkeley pointed out the upcoming SID’s session 51 (scheduled on May 27th) on 3-D TV and 3-D Video, in which SMD will present a “novel simultaneous emission drive scheme for crosstalk-free 3-D AMOLED TV.”

            Samsung Highlights Innovations in Mobile Experiences Driven by Components, in CES Keynote [Samsung press release, Jan 9, 2012]

            Prototypes and real-life scenarios for Samsung’s line of flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays were also showcased, promising various mobile application opportunities for consumer electronics manufacturers. Dubbed “YOUM,” the flexible display line-up uses extremely thin plastic instead of glass, making it bendable and virtually “unbreakable.” Berkeley featured a smartphone prototype equipped with a curved edge that showed contiguous content along the side of the device.

            “Our team was able to make a high resolution display on extremely thin plastic instead of glass, so it won’t break even if it’s dropped,” said Berkeley. “This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices, opening up new lifestyle possibilities … [and] allow our partners to create a whole new ecosystem of devices.”

            One of Samsung’s partners that bring the company’s state-of-the-art components together is Microsoft, adding more layers of value to the final product with its software solutions, devices and services. Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer, Microsoft, took the complete ATIV family of devices as an example through which Samsung’s component solutions and Windows 8 together present new potential in user interfaces. Rudder reported that Microsoft Research has been continuing its work on next-generation display technologies, enabling new modes of human-computer interaction.

            This latest appearance from Microsoft you can watch on Samsung Exynos 5 Octa & Flexible Display at CES 2013 Keynote [SamsungTomorrowYouTube channel, Jan 9, 2012] between [48:53 – 54:00]. For easier access I copied here both image and statement excerpts from that:


            [51:37] We actually have a prototype of Windows Phone and how would look on one of those screens [51:41]

            [51:41] And Microsoft’s vision is that sensors like Kinect combined with flexible, transparent and projected displays will bring us to a point when any object can be a Surface and can be a computer. I’d like to close with a short video from Microsoft Research which extends interactivity to every surface in your living room. Last year you’ve may seen some videos with precomputed projections. What we’re demoing today is both real-time and fully interactive. And while you may find it hard to believe the footage shown here is exactly what’ve appeared in the lab without any special effects being added. Some companies talk about reality distortion field we’ve actually built one. [52:32]

            [52:35 – 53:20] IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV for an Immersive Gaming Experience [MicrosoftResearch YouTube channel, Jan 8, 2013]

            IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept Microsoft Research project designed to push the boundary of living room immersive entertainment by blending our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualizations. The effects in the video are rendered in real time and are captured live — not special effects added in post processing. IllumiRoom project was designed by: Brett Jones, Hrvoje Benko, Eyal Ofek and Andy Wilson

            [53:24] This is just a glimpse of what our future may hold in store for us. We’re excited that this technology can be used in many different ways: to enhance a TV or movie experience, or increase the reality of a flight simulator, or make educational scenarios more exciting. We look forward to our continued partnership with Samsung to deliver the next generation of devices and services. [53:49]

            More information: Exynos 5 Octa, flexible display enhanced with Microsoft vision et al. from Samsung Components: the only valid future selling at CES 2013 [on this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Jan 10, 2013]

            It is only natural that Samsung’s core technology partner has a well developed story about Flexible Future [an OLED marketplace page of the Universal Display Corporation, Jan 6, 2008 – Jan 14, 2013] as well (note the Universal Communication Device concept which is also appearing briefly in the Samsung concept video above as the last one):

            The novel and truly exciting features of Universal Display’s proprietary FOLED® flexible technology have the potential to engender a wide variety of new display and lighting products. With FOLED technology still under development today, the first commercial FOLED displays are targeted for use in portable electronics and lighting tiles – leveraging their advantages in ruggedness, thinness and light weight. Based on Universal Display’s FOLED technology roadmap, the next generation of FOLEDs may provide added functionality through increased conformability. This feature may open up a wide range of new product opportunities – ranging from new shaped cell phone designs to novel communication devices that are wearable, for example, on the cuff of your shirtsleeve or your backpack.
            imageContinued progress in Universal Display’s FOLED roadmap may, then, enable the realization of Universal Display’s innovative product concept [of 2012], the Universal Communication Device (UCD). Envisioned as a truly portable, cell phone-like communication device, the UCD is designed to offer advanced voice and data communication capabilities – via a roll-out, full-color, full-motion video display that’s as flexible as it is energy-efficient. [The slide above is from “Universal Display Corporation Needham & Co. 15th Annual Growth Conference January 15, 2013” presentation]
            Additional product ideas based on our FOLED technology (and TOLED transparent OLED technology) include:
              • Foldable, electronic, daily-refreshable newspapers
              • Ultra-lightweight and thin, wall-size television monitors
              • Curved, high-contrast automotive instrumentation displays
              • Heads-up instrumentation for aircraft and automotive windshields
              • Office windows, walls and partitions that double as computer screens
              • Color-changing lighting panels and light walls for home and office
                With FOLED technology development advancing well, initial flexible OLED products may be ready for the market as soon as within the next few years.  With continued product innovation enabled by these new FOLED performance features, we believe that the potential may be much greater.

                And here is what a CES 2013 visitor had seen at their booth: Samsung latest technology on Mobile, laptop and screen display [justwantolearn YouTube channel, Jan 21, 2013]

                The flexible OLED display story actually has quite a history at Samsung:
                – Here is Samsung Display show future flexible-transparent OLED-Display devices [Erich Strasser YouTube channel, Nov 5, 2012]

                http://www.oled-display.net Samsung Display showcase in that video new gadgets which are possible with OLED-Displays. Samsung Display want to use transparent, flexible, foldable AMOLED Displays in the near future to make new products. Check out this amazing video! More about OLED at http://www.oled-display.net or http://www.oled.at

                – then the Samsung Display Original Olympic [TheSamsungdisplay YouTube channel, July 12, 2012] story:

                With all that we can safely declare that the year 2013 will be as important for flexible OLED as the year 2007 was for OLED in general.


                6. Recent News

                DisplaySearch forecasts that the majority of FPD [Flat Panel Display] equipment spending in 2013 will be used for new low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) fabs and fab processes for use in both TFT LCD and AMOLED (active matrix OLED) displays. 

                From the announcement of the 2013 China FPD Conference (Shanghai, March 20-21, 2013)  

                AMOLEDs continued to project strong OLED display market growth. According to our October article in Display-Central more than 10 new AMOLEDs fabs will be installed or updated in the next three years. For example, Samsung and LG are both building Gen-8 AMOLED lines. DisplaySearch reported that OLED display revenue was approximately $3.5 billion in 2011. Their recently revived estimates are about $6.5 billion in 2012. They project $9.5 billion in 2013 as new capacity comes online and estimates a $34 billion OLED display market by 2019. Meanwhile, AUO continues to ship AMOLED panels to HTC Corp for certification. S.L. Peng, General Manager of AUO said they will be ready for mass production of AMOLED panels for cell phones in 2013.

                From the Nov 7, 2012 Earnings Call transcript of Universal Display, the dominant supplier of OLED materials and intellectual property

                According to industry sources, approximately five new LTPS production lines are scheduled to be put into operation in Korea, China and Japan in 2013 to supply high-resolution display panels for smart phones. The industry is currently being led by Korea and Japan but Chinese LCD panel manufacturers account for most of the new production lines.
                Specifically, China Star starts the operation of its new 4th-generation production line in Shenzhen while Tianma’s 5.5th-generation and Foxconn’s 6th-generation lines are put into operation in Xiamen and Chengdu, respectively. Japan Display [set up by merging the medium and small-sized display businesses of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi in 2011, and supported from the Investment Fund predominated by Japanese government] runs a new 6th-generation line at its Mobara plant located in the Chiba Prefecture, too. In Korea, LG Display and Samsung Display are building 6th- LCD and 5.5th-generation AM OLED lines.
                Their combined LTPS production capacity is predicted to almost double owing to the production line expansion. At the same time, the increase in the investment is expected to have a good effect on the AM OLED market as LTPS is used mainly in AM OLED panels.

                From a Jan 7, 2013 news item by Korea IT News

                In this quarter we saw announcements delay OLED TVs and OLEDs on plastic, and [so] products using our green phosphorescent emitter and host materials have not yet ramped. … TV for both LG and Samsung has pushed out as well as flexible. So, a lot of the emerging growth that we expect in the second half of the year has not materialized, because it’s been pushed out

                From the Nov 7, 2012 Earnings Call transcript of Universal Display, the dominant supplier of OLED materials and intellectual property 

                Samsung, a leading flat-screen maker, plans to boost investment on OLED displays to 7 trillion won [$6.25 billion US] and halve its investment in liquid crystal display (LCD) facilities to 2 trillion won next year [in 2012]. A Samsung spokesman declined to comment on the report.

                From a Nov 9, 2011 news article from Reuters

                – OLED players’ shares have fallen sharply this year (down by an average of 30% since early 2012) due to a smaller-than-expected amount of and delay in OLED investment by Samsung Display
                A2 extension-related orders to begin in near future
                – We expect Samsung Display to begin investing in its A2 extension line in the near future. We forecast that A2 extension line’s capacity will amount to 27,000 sheets/month (5.5G mother glass). Of note, we believe that the company will spend around W1.5bn [$1.34 billion US] to complete the line.
                – According to DisplaySearch, Samsung Display’s OLED loading rate exceeds 95%. We assume that Samsung Display will pre-emptively construct its A2 extension line in anticipation of OLED demand in 2H13. Given likely OLED demand growth, we believe that Samsung Display will carry out further capacity expansions in 2H13.
                image

                image

                From a Nov 27, 2012 stock analyst comment from Woori I&S Research Center

                As reported in October 23, OLED info article [the] Korean site MK News is saying that Samsung plans to produce full HD AMOLED panels with a pixel density of at least 400 PPI in the first half of 2013, exceeding the Galaxy Nexus’ current record 316 PPI.

                From the Nov 7, 2012 Earnings Call transcript of Universal Display, the dominant supplier of OLED materials and intellectual property 

                LTPS AMOLED is Coming on Gen 8
                Low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) has been the semiconductor material of choice for making the thin-film transistors used to switch pixels in active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) display panels. It was not easy to scale the laser crystallization process used to convert amorphous silicon to LTPS on substrate sizes greater than Gen 4, but Samsung did it for their successful Gen 5.5 fab. The Gen 5.5 uses a crystallization tool from AP Systems (APS), we are told by Barry Young, Managing Director of the OLED Association and CEO of Young Market Research (YMR).
                It has been Samsung’s plan for some time to use LTPS on its first Gen 8 AMOLED fab, and to then switch to Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) for its second Gen 8 AMOLED fab. This plan embodies what appears to be a rational assessment of the time it will take for IGZO to be ready for volume production of AMOLED backplanes.
                LG Display, in an attempt to leapfrog Samsung as the undisputed AMOLED leader, gambled on a much earlier IGZO roll-out for Gen 8, and apparently pushed the technology too far too fast, since the company missed its announced London Olympics introduction date for 55-inch AMOLED-TV, and then missed two subsequent introduction dates.
                But Samsung continued to work diligently on LTPS, and successfully introduced an up-scaled APS tool on its Gen 8 pilot line. The company has now ordered a high-volume Gen 8 production tool from APS, says Young.
                In the production tool, the laser beam is optically broadened to a line that can be as large as 1300mm, and is swept along the substrate in the long direction. The 55-inch displays are produced 6-up in a 3×2 matrix. The line beam makes one pass from the top and one from the bottom, so the sweep edge does not cross any display and stitching in not needed.
                Expect to see the first 55-inch AMOLED-TVs with LTPS backplanes in 2013.-Ken Werner

                From a Nov 1, 2012 article on Display Central


                7. Historical and some more technological background

                OLED TV and display (as presented by Kodak) [cplai YouTube channel, Jan 19, 2009]

                OLED introduction from Fraunhofer IAP [Erich Strasser YouTube channel, May 20, 2008]

                This video shows you how an OLED [called there PLED, Polymer LED] works and what is the outlook for the OLED Display technology.

                OLED-Structure:

                imageOrganic light emitting diodes consist of stacks of organic layers (thickness about 100 nm), which are inserted between a cathode and an anode. Usually, the substrate is glass coated with a transparent conductive oxide being the anode, followed by the organic stack, consisting of hole transport and electron transport materials, followed by the inorganic cathode. Key advantages of the organic luminescence are the chemical variability of the organic light-emitting diodes, allowing virtually any color including white, and the thin film system, allowing large-area and low-cost deposition, and the possibility to use thin and even flexible substrates to realize a novel class of lighting and display solutions not possible for other technologies.
                In the OLED technology, two different material groups have to be distinguished: OLED materials with low molecular weight called small-molecule (SM) OLED. SM-OLED were first introduced by the research group led by Dr. Ching Tang at the Kodak Laboratories in 1987. The deposition of SM-OLEDs is based on vacuum thermal evaporation. Polymer based OLED (PLEDs) are based on long polymer organic chains and are deposited by spin-cast or ink-jet principles.

                OLED-Manufacturing Process:

                image

                LCD-TFT Manufacturing Process:

                image

                So we can see that the manufacturing process of OLED is very simple against to TFT-LCD.

                LTPS is used for OLEDs and for LCDs with high pixel densities, such as the “Retina” display used in the iPhone 4. The problem is that LTPS is not readily scalable; that is, it cannot easily be used on large substrates, and it’s relatively expensive. In addition, the switching characteristics are not very consistent over larger areas. However, those characteristics don’t change much over time, even when an LTPS TFT is used to drive an OLED.

                Amorphous oxides thread the needle, with processing that is similar to that for a-Si and characteristics that can be stable when driving OLEDs and able to provide better and more consistent images on large LCDs. However, the switching characteristics of these oxides have been unstable when subjected to various kinds of voltage and temperature stress.

                From an April 28, 2011 article of Display Daily

                Samsung to invest more than $2 billion over the next two years in a new AMOLED production plant, which will be the world’s biggest one, riding on the back of ever-bigger interest in OLED tech for devices (the market grew some 35% last year).

                From a May 20, 2010 post on fastcompany.com

                Samsung’s 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab: first line is online, two months ahead of schedule

                Samsung Mobile Display started producing AMOLED panels in their new 5.5-Gen (1,300×1,500mm) fab in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea. This is actually two months ahead of schedule. The official celebration will take place next month.

                This is just the first line in Samsung’s new fab – which will produce 24,000 substrates a month. The next stage (line 2) is scheduled for the end of 2011 (and will double the capacity to 48,000 monthly substrates). The third line is planned for the first half of 2012, and this will bring monthly capacity to 100,000 substrates. Total investment for this new fab is around $2.2 billion.

                A trusted source tells us that Samsung will start using Universal Display‘s green PHOLED materials in all AMOLED screens produced in this new fab (in addition to the red PHOLED already used in all of Samsung’s AMOLED panels). This will make the new panels more efficient than before. The new plant still uses Fine Metal Mask (FMM, or Shadow Mask) technology – Samsung isn’t ready with their laser-based technology that will enable much high resolution displays.

                From a May 12, 2011 news post on OLED-Info.com

                Dr. David Fyfe, President of Fyfe Consulting, in a paper entitled, P-OLEDs (Polymer OLED)-How Close to Commercialisation? asked, why should OLED replace LCD?
                Here is what Dr. Fyfe said, “With OLED, power is in direct proportion to the amount of light required,” further, “black draws no power.”  It is all about energy efficiency as LCD throws away a lot of light in the process of producing a picture.  And light is energy and at the end of the day, energy is money.
                The key reasons that Dr. Fyfe stated for why OLED will eventually prevail, in case you hadn’t noticed market ructions with content types that favor one screen or the other, was that, “OLED has a 180 degree viewing angle, high intrinsic color saturation, ultra thin form factor, very fast refresh rates, very high contrast rates, it is energy efficient and the total bill of materials is less than LCD.”
                David Fyfe sees materials challenges with the ‘lifetime of blue and green which is also faced in small molecule OLED.’  Just in case it is the first time reading about OLED, the materials under discussion are phosphor and polymers.

                From a June 24, 2010 article of Korea IT Times

                Sum of / Unit Share (% )

                2009

                Q1’10

                a-Si TFT LCD

                52.3%

                59.2%

                CSTN

                20.3%

                15.3%

                LTPS TFT LCD

                20.4%

                17.6%

                AMOLED

                1.4%

                1.9%

                MSTN

                5.6%

                6%

                PMOLED

                0.1%

                0%

                Shipment Share of Mobile Phone Main Display by Technology by DisplaySearch (Aug 10, 2010)

                Samsung Mobile Displays: SMD is a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung. This company was formed from Samsung SDI’s and Electronics’ OLED units in 2008. Samsung MD is mass-producing color OLED displays, and is involved in both AMOLED and PMOLED, primarily for the mobile phone display market. It is the largest AMOLED panel maker, and are also working on larger panels, OLED lighting, flexible and transparent OLEDs. Samsung lists on the Korean Stock Exchange (Ticker is SSNGY), and SMD lists as Samsung SDI (006400.KS).

                From a Dec 9, 2009 article of oledreviews.com

                Another hotspot of mobile phone display is AM OLED. PM OLED is the same with STN-LCD in color and resolution, but its price is far higher. AM OLED is the focus in market.
                OLED’s disadvantage is that antioxidant capacity of its light-emitting materials is rather poor after being electrified, so it needs vacuum glass seal to prevent oxidation, which is the same with TFT-LCD. OLED is a current-mode device which requires high current drive, so LTPS TFT substrate is essential. Now, all of small-size AM OLEDs are LTPS TFT substrates. The carrier transfer rate of LTPS TFT substrates is 100 times faster than that of traditional A-SI substrates. The manufacturing process of LTPS substrate is very complicated, requiring more mask and laser annealing processes, which leads to low throughput. If there are crystal defects on the surface of LTPS, Mura will arise easily, which is a barrier for the application of LTPS substrate. Due to the perfect process of a-Si substrate, it is easy to carry mass-production. A-Si substrate production is seen as another large-scale solution, but a-Si substrate has disadvantages in initial voltage offset and mobility.
                LTPS determines the high cost of OLED. The investment in OLED production line is not lower than that of traditional TFT-LCD. At this stage, OLED is sold at a loss; even in mass production, its cost is still higher than that of traditional TFT-LCD. Most TFT-LCD panel plants have completed amortization of some old production lines, and obtained considerable output as well as good effects. LTPS TFT technology is only mastered by a few big TFT-LCD manufacturers, and their attitude towards OLED is very important, unless they completely grasp OLED manufacturing know-how, they will not invest in OLED. Therefore, OLED is in the charge of a few manufacturers now, such as Samsung. Samsung has overwhelming advantages in AM OLED, which is very unfavorable for the industrial development.

                From an Oct 12, 2009 press release on Business Wire by ReportLinker

                Terminology: excerpted on Dec 3, 2009 from http://www2.dupont.com/Displays/en_US/knowledge_center/terms.html

                Active Matrix (AM): A display backplane structure in which switching transistors control the voltage or current for each pixel. It produces a brighter, sharper and faster display with a broader viewing angle than a passive matrix display. Used in reference to both LCDs and OLEDs; used synonymously with TFT (thin-film transistor).
                Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD): An LCD display in which each pixel has its own transistor on/off switch rather than being activated by its address within a passive matrix of rows and columns. This is the most common type of LCD; it’s also called “TFT-LCD”.
                Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Display (AMOLED): An OLED display in which each pixel has its own transistor on/off switch (see TFT and Active Matrix) rather than being activated by its address within a passive matrix of rows and columns. This type of OLED is just entering initial production in mid-2006; most current OLED displays are passive matrix.
                Passive Matrix (PM): Used in reference to both LCDs and OLEDs, passive matrix refers to the drive architecture where only the data and gate lines are controlled. PM displays have lower performance and higher power consumption than active matrix (AM) displays.
                Passive Matrix LCD (PMLCD): An LCD that uses a passive matrix drive scheme. A pixel in a PMLCD must maintain its state without active driving circuitry until it can be refreshed again.
                Passive Matrix OLED (PMOLED): An OLED that uses a passive matrix driving scheme. Almost all OLEDs as of mid-2006 are PMOLEDs because there are some difficult problems still to be solved in creating an AM backplane that works well with current-driven OLEDs (as opposed to voltage-driven LCDs).


                8. OLED TV

                CES 2013: TV Manufacturers Don’t Agree on the Next Big Thing [IEEE Spectrum, Jan 8, 2013]

                A few months ago, we all thought we knew the future of television displays. 2013 was going to be the long anticipated year of OLED.

                According to TV manufacturers launching new products at CES, this still may be true. Or it may be the year TV screens with 4K resolution—also called Ultra High Definition—capture our attention. Or it may be time for a new technology to take the spotlight. Whatever the future of television is, it is sure to be expensive, at least for a while.

                Last year at CES, Samsung and LG promised televisions using Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology would hit the market by the end of 2012. That date slipped somewhat, but yesterday at a press conference, LG spokesmen indicated that the manufacturing problems have been resolved and global shipments of LG’s first OLED TVs started this month. It will go on sale in the U.S. come March for $12,000.

                Samsung, too, seemed to give equal play to its 2013 OLED launch and to UltraHD. Samsung put an original twist on its OLED offerings with a feature the company calls Multiview. With Multiview, Samsung takes advantage of OLED’s fast switching speed to display two different programs to two people in the room—glasses with built-in headphones separate the images and the sound.

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