I was watching the Olympics on Eurosport today when I suddenly saw an ad for LG's upcoming OLED TVs (or the "ultimate display" as they like to call them). It was pretty nice seeing an OLED TV on television, my wife was excited too. I couldn't find the exact ad online, but it was pretty similar to the video below:
ABI Research says that OLED TVs will only take less then 1% of the total TV market through at least 2013. By 2017, OLED Tvs will reach 9% of the market. They say that the high prices of the TVs (LG's and Samsung's upcoming 55" OLED TVs will cost around $10,000) will limit the market size. According to ABI, consumers place price and screen size above all other factors - including display technology and image quality.
While most analysts agree that OLED TV sales will be very low in the first few years, some think that the takeup will be quicker. LG Display themselves say that by 2014, OLED may become the "mainstream" technology, and by 2017 OLED TVs will cost less than an equivalent LCD.
Update: according to the english version of the article, the 350ppi was achieved "in the lab", so it's not clear how close this is to commercialization. The article also suggests that Samsung is indeed moving away from LITI...
There's a report from Korea suggesting that Samsung managed to reach 350 ppi on an OLED display using FMM (Fine Metal Mask). Up until now Samsung focused on LITI to reach such high resolutions, but if this is true then Samsung can quickly apply this production process to their current AMOLED fabs.
Hopefully we'll hear more of this achievement if true soon. One of the major advantages of current LCDs over OLED panels is the higher possible density (Apple's Retina display for example reaches 326 ppi), so this may be a huge boost for OLEDs.
It seems that Apple has won a Europe-wide injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7. It seems that the tablet infringes on Apple patents from 2004 and now it cannot be sold in the EU. You can still buy the 7.7 in the US, Amazon.com is offering it for $555 unlocked.
The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the world's first tablet with an OLED display, a 7.7" Super AMOLED Plus panel, offering 1280x800 resolution. Other specs include Android v3.2, Dual-core 1.4Ghz processor, HSPA+ radio, 16GB to 64GB internal storage and a microSD slot, Wi-Fi, GPS and two cameras (3MP and 2MP).
We just found out that back in April 2012 Sony announced that it has sold over 10,000 professional OLED monitors in the TriMaster EL range. Sony introduced the monitors in April 2011 in Europe and already sold over 2,000 units there. When we discussed OLEDs with Sony's OLED product manager back in February 2012 he indeed said that the OLED fab at Nagoya Japan is running at full capacity.
Sony offers several monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 24.5") and in several series (BVM-E, BVM-F and PVM). Sony's OLED monitors provide a superior image quality compared to LCDs, and the cost difference is not so large because in these premium products the cost of the panel itself is a small portion of the total product cost. Sony also offers a medical grade 25" OLED monitor (that recently started shipping), you can see it in the new video above.
LG Display announced weak results for Q2 2012 (a net loss of almost $100 million). During the conference call, LGD's CEO gave some interesting updates on their OLED program. First of all, the company decided to convert a 6-Gen LCD fab to LTPS - to produce both LCDs and plastic based small sized OLEDs.
LG's Gen-8 pilot line will be ready in the second half of 2012. They haven't yet decided about the scale and timing of additional investment on that line. They're waiting to see if there's a market demand for OLED TVs. But in any case, the company will try to make large OLED panels a major profit generator within two or three years - i.e. by 2015. LGD already said that it expects OLED TVs to take off by 2015.
Samsung reported their financial results for Q2 2012, with an operating profit of $5.9 billion and revenues of $41.7 billion. A large portion of that profit came from smartphone sales - especially Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note sales. The company sold over 10 million S3 phones by mid July.
Samsung also reports that the new smartphone products resulted in increased OLED panel sales and continued profitability in the OLED business. Samsung aims to expand sales of both LCD and OLED panels for smartphones.
Qualcomm announced it is scrapping Mirasol production plans. They will try to license the technology for other companies to produce. Mirasol is a MEMS based reflective color display technology from Qualcomm, once touted to be an OLED replacement. The company is producing some small displays in low volume, but plans to build a $1 billion production plans have been canceled.
Mirasol displays are rather similar to E Ink as they're very efficient and can be read under direct sunlight. The displays suffer from washed colors though, and cannot be read in the dark. The panels shown at SID were quite impressive, and it's a real shame that Qualcomm couldn't manage to overcome the low yields it was apparently facing.
AUO's president, Paul Peng, reiterated the company's plans to start AMOLED mass production in Q3 2012. AUO will make 4.3" panels featuring 257 ppi. Peng also reveals that the company is co-developing in-cell touch AMOLED panels together with some handset makers, and will have samples ready by H2 2013.
There are also reports that AUO plans to introduce large-size OLED panels by the end of 2012. The company is reportedly working in cooperation with Japan-based firms to develop those panels. The AMOLEDs will be produced in AUO's 6-Gen R&D line and be based on Oxide-TFT backplanes.
Toshiba's T-02D is an Android 4.0 smartphone for Japan's NTT DoCoMo network. It sports a 4.3" 960×540 (qHD) AMOLED Plus display , a dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor, LTE, 13.1mp camera, a fingerprint sensor - and it's all water and dust resistant.
Toshiba describes the display as a "New AMOLED Plus". We do not know what this means, it may be a Super AMOLED Plus.