The 2014 Samsung Investor Forum saw several OLED prototypes on display. According to Samsung Display VP Chang Hoon Lee, OLED displays have reached the point where they can now be produced at a lower cost than LCD units; this is because they lack backlights, polarisers, liquid crystals and spacers. OLED is now ready to compete directly with LCD technology.
Samsung Display is focusing on flexible units for mobile devices, aiming to produce between 30,000 and 40,000 displays per month by the end of 2015.
5.5″ (2048 x 1536) and 10″ (1920 x 1080) foldable displays were shown and gathered much attention. The smaller unit is able to fold in half, while the larger model can fold three times. Both have a curvature radius of 5mm, compared to the Note Edge’s 7mm – SDC plans to reach a 1mm radius within two years. All layers use plastic materials, aside from the TFT substrate; the cover layer is 0.5mm, the touch layer is between 0.1 – 0.2mm (using ITO, but Samsung is looking into alternatives) and the display layer is 0.1mm.
We suspect that the substrate uses LTPS technology. It is formed of polyimide, but SDC is examining flexible glass as well.
Although no plans were announced for commercialisation, Samsung also showed two transparent rigid OLED displays. One, the largest transparent OLED ever shown, was 30″, while the other was 14″ (Samsung showed a similar display back in 2010: Display Monitor Vol 17 No 42).
Samsung plans for its flexible OLED displays to be used on premium products, while rigid units will be used in mid-end products. Flexible displays will reinvigorate smartphone growth, SDC feels; the company plans to expand its customer base between 10% and 15% this year, and as much as 50% in 2016.