Samsung - Note 2, OLED TVs, Apple patents
August was a busy month for Samsung. The US federal court decided that Samsung did indeed infringe on several of Apple's patents and designs, and Samsung got a $1 billion fine. Apple is seeking to ban certain Samsung products (such as the Galaxy S and the S II) from sale in the US.
This is a major win for Apple and a big loss for Samsung. Some fear that this may lead to a blow on the OLED market as well - where Android based devices (mostly made by Samsung) are the main clients of OLED displays currently (to be fair, the devices mentioned in the trial amount to about 5% of all phones sold by Samsung according to Goldman Sacks). On the other hand, this may force Samsung (and other companies) to show new innovations, which perhaps may lead to faster adoption of new technologies including next-gen OLED panels (such as flexible or transparent ones).
The IFA 2012 exhibition opened on August 29, and Samsung unveiled two new OLED gadgets, including the successor to the popular Galaxy Note, the Note 2 - with a a 5.5" HD Super AMOLED display (1280x720, PenTile). Yes - this is a 'regular' glass based AMOLED panel, and not a plastic-based flexible YOUM panel as earlier rumors suggested. We'll have to wait some more for Samsung's first flexible-OLED device, due in 2012 (it'll probably have a much smaller panel though).
Samsung posted a large outdoor ad campaign during IFA, with the OLED TV in the center of it. The ad copy says - "Samsung OLED TV - the world's biggest OLED experience". When Samsung first unveiled their 55" OLED TVs at CES 2012, they called them "Super OLED TV". But since then Samsung never used the Super superlative again, and it seems that they have dropped that bit from the product name.
LG sees flexible OLEDs in 2013
LG Display's CEO Han Sang-beom said that the company plans to start mass producing flexible OLED panels in the second half of 2013. There are speculations that Apple is driving LG Display towards those panels. It's probably unlikely though as capacity at first isn't likely to be enough for Apple.
This actually marks an expediation of LG's flexible OLED plans. In January 2012 the company said that they will start constructing a new pilot line in Q3 2012, which will become active by the end of 2012 and the company will need 1-2 years to develop and verify the process before producing at mass volume.
Han Sang-beom also says that LG's OLED TVs will debut "very soon". The company will significantly boost its OLED TV production capacity at the second half of 2013.
Universal Display reports Q2 2012 results
Universal Display reported their financial results for Q2 2012, with a record revenues of $30 million (up 167% compared to 2Q 2011). This includes the $15 million license payment from Samsung (paid twice a year). Net income was $11 million. UDC says that the number of customers purchasing OLED materials increase about 40% from 2Q 2011.
During the conference call, the company gave some interesting updates on the recent Fujifilm OLED IP acquisition deal, green PHOLED at Samsung, a new investment in a plasma-processing equipment company and the patents trials in Korea. You can read more about these issues here.
Disclosure: The author of this newsletter holds shares in UDC
OLED market reports
DisplaySearch optimistic about the OLED market - saying it is set to grow tenfold from 2012 to 2016, based on planned investments. Most of the capacity increase will be driveb by OLED TV panel production. These OLED TV panels are still very expensive though. According to DisplaySearch, producing a 55" direct-emission panel on LTPS costs ten times than an equivalent LCD. LG's WRGB on IGZO will cost a little less (eight times an LCD). But DisplaySearch assumes that the current challenges will be overcome quickly.
In terms of revenues, the global OLED market will reach $44 billion in 2019. The TV market will take off in 2015 and will enjoy rapid growth. The OLED lighting market will also grow quickly to reach $6.3 billion by 2018.
Samsung is still enjoying good success with its AMOLED phones, and they have reported that the Galaxy Note sold over 10 million units in 9 months. Sony on the other hand is less successful with its PSP Vita OLED gaming console, reporting that only 2.2 million units were sold - and current rate is about 250,000 a month.
Nouvoyance explains why PenTile OLEDs last longer
A few months ago Samsung said that the new Galaxy S3 has a Pentile displays (a 4.8" 1280x720 HD Super AMOLED one to be exact) because PenTile increased the lifetime of OLED panels. Joel Pollack, an Executive VP at Nouvoyance (Samsung's company that developed the PenTile matrix scheme) explained to us why is that exactly.
In a PenTile display, there are only two subpixels per pixel, with twice as many green pixels than red and blue ones. This enables larger sub-pixels, and a higher aperture ratio (or fill factor - the ratio of active area to nonactive area). This reduces the current density required to achieve a given luminance - which improves lifetime. Joel says that in current OLED technology for a display with a resolution of more than 230 ppi it's hard for Samsung to achieve good lifetime without PenTile. At 230 ppi and below, actually, PenTile is not recommended (as the Pentile pattern is too visible).
Top OLED News
Ynvisible's electrochromics transparent flexible display hands on review
We posted a hands-on review of Ynvisible's new flexible and transparent simple e-paper displays
eMagin to develop high-brightness 2000x2000 OLED microdisplays for the US Navy
eMagin's new contract (worth $2.4 million) aims to develop microdisplays for aircraft cockpits
Aixtron delivers a flexible organic electronics production system
Aixtron announced that it has delivered a production-scale PRODOS Gen-3.5 Polymer Vapor Phase Deposition (PVPD) system to a major prestigious Asian customer. This system will be used to produce novel flexible electronic devices through the deposition of organic polymer thin films.
STMicroelectronics invests in MicroOLED, to collaborate on OLED microdisplay development
STMicroelectronics announced it is going to collaborate with MicroOLED and help the company develop and produce OLED microdisplays. STM will also invest €6 million in MicroOLED
NeoView Kolon now offers transparent PMOLED displays and lighting panels
According to their web site, NeoView are now shipping transparent PMOLED panels, transparent OLED lighting panels and more
Audi to equip the R18 e-tron car with an AMOLED digital rear-view mirror
Audi's R18 e-tron small-volume electric road car will use Samsung's 7.7-inch AMOLED display as a rear-view mirror
eMagin Q2 2012 results - record revenues of $8.6 million
eMagin reported a very good quarter and updates on their new deposition machine, consumer camera EVF and more
Explosion at LG Chem's OLED factory kills one employee, injures 14 others
LG Chem said that while there's no problem to continue produce OLEDs in the factory, they have decided to stop operation until the police investigation is over
New OLED gadgets
Samsung Galaxy Note II
A 5.5-inch Phablet device with a HD Super AMOLED 1280x720 display
Samsung ATIV S
Samsung's first Windows 8 device is pretty similar to the S3 and sports a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED (1280x720)
Nikon Coolpix S800c
The world's first Android-powered digital camera has a 3.5-inch WVGA AMOLED touch screen
A minor upgrade to Sony's 3D head mounted display with the same Sony-made 0.7-inch 1280x720 OLED microdisplays
Micromax Pixel A90
An India-bound dual-SIM Android (V4) smartphone with a 4.3-inch 800x480 Super AMOLED panel
BLU Vivo 4.3
A dual-SIM android phone with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display
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