Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The First Flexible AMOLED Display to be launched in Q4' 2013

Samsung Electronics Company (SEC) will exhibit a new Galaxy Note 3, featuring an unbreakable OLED display at IFA 2013 in September and plans to launch the product in Q4'2013.  Based on our research, SDC will utilize a plastic substrate with an LTPS active matrix and RGB patterned OLED. Table 1 shows a comparison of the new Note 3 with the current Galaxy Note 2.

Table 1. Comparison of Galaxy NOTE 2 and NOTE 3

The consumer market will be able to experience the unbreakable plastic based AMOLED display integrated into the Galaxy Note 3. Compared to glass substrate type AMOLEDs, the flexible display features a thinner and lighter form factor, resulting in smaller size and higher mobility.  The display size is also expected to range from 5.5-inch up to 6.x-inch. 

Figure 1. Form Comparison of LCD, OLED and UBP OLED

As shown in Figure 1 the UBP OLED reduces both the weight and thickness significantly, compared to LCDs and glass substrate AMOLEDs.  The UBP OLED features 0.5 mm OLED vs. 3.2 mm LCD thickness.  In terms of weight, the LCD is 3 X higher at 160g while conventional OLEDs are 2 X higher at 100g heavier than the UBP OLED.  UBP OLED is built using thin film encapsulation and a PI (polyimide) backplane whereas glass substrate OLED employees glass encapsulation and cover glass.  

According to many news sources, SDC plans to produce a full HD resolution with real RGB; however, even if the commercialization of plastic OLED integrated Galaxy NOTE 3 happens in Q4'2013, OLED-A does not expect that SDC would be able to reach either FHD or ramp up to large volume in Q4'2013.  Its production line, A2 extension lines for flexible display is not expected to reach MP until Q3'2013 and even if the production line is ready the anticipated lower  yield rate of the line will limit production volume.  It is most likely that a limited volume would be shipped to selected smartphone carriers in some regions.  However, we, the OLED lovers should not be discouraged by the slow rollout of flexible OLEDs mass production of real RGB OLED is not easy, actually, many display experts have reported the likelihood that it would be impossible produce smaller flexible displays, but the SDC seems to have achieved this milestone. What's next—possible curved and then rollable displays!