Fortunately, more and more manufacturers are betting on panels OLED for your phones. This is a technology that has been with us for a couple of decades at a commercial level (the Samsung E700 from 2003 had an external OLED screen)but which began to really attract attention in the mobile segment with the launch of the mythical Samsung i9000, the first samsung galaxy s.
Since then, the market has evolved a lot, as well as the OLED panels that have been incorporated improvements in resolution, response, brightness and whose forms have begun to be really taken advantage of with the arrival of the folding mobiles. Next, and with the idea that you know what the technology of the panel of your mobile is about, we are going to tell you What are the types of OLED panel that are most used in current phones.
An OLED panel (organic light-emitting diode or organic light-emitting diode) is made up of thousands of diodes capable of generating light by themselves. They have an organic material -such as carbon- that reacts to electrical stimulation and, ultimately, allowing pixels to be turned on and off individually.
In an LCD panel and its variants there is a backlight source -backlight- that illuminates the entire panel equally, as well as other superimposed layers to improve characteristics such as contrast.
Since that doesn’t happen on an OLED panel, these are thinner by needing fewer layers, they are more “malleable”, they can offer more vivid colors, they are more efficient and, in addition, they achieve better contrast because when a pixel has to reproduce a black color, it directly turns off. That’s why we have phones with Always-on Display technologies.
It is, let’s say, the technology on which the rest of the types of OLED panels that we see today in mobile phones, televisions, virtual reality viewers or watches are based and, over the years, it has been refined to adapt OLED panels to uses more specific.
Curiously, mobiles do not usually use “basic” OLED screenssince for smartphones the technology that we will talk about below is somewhat better, but you can see examples such as the Huawei P50Pro or the Pixel 5. And that it is more malleable than an LCD allowed us to see a mobile like the Samsung Galaxy Round in 2013, with a striking curved screen.
AMOLED is, in addition to a variant of OLED technology, a registered trademark of Samsung. are the acronyms of active-matrix organic light-emitting diode or active matrix of organic light-emitting diodes. Basically like OLED, but with that “active matrix”.
This technology adds an active layer that regulates the current that flows through each pixel and, as a consequence, brightness is controlled more precisely, being able to obtain higher levels and, in addition, larger diagonals while maintaining energy efficiency and panel quality.
On the matrix, it combines the green pixels between the blue and the red ones, so those green pixels have more presence, but they are somewhat smaller than the other two. And, as a result of AMOLED screens, various technologies have been developed.
So, we see the Super AMOLED (with a digitizer between the panel layers, and not just on top, to improve sensitivity), the Super AMOLED Plus (with a matrix more similar to that of RGB, with the green, red and blue having the same size) or the variations of Dynamic AMOLED (better brightness control and higher HDR capabilities).
Samsung has a lot of technologies and it is taking advantage of them on mobiles of different formats. He Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra they are Dynamic AMOLED 2X.
It is the same panel, but with flat sides in the case of the first and curved in the second. He Galaxy Z Fold 4 or the Galaxy Z Flip 4 They also use that panel and the format, being foldable, changes completely, making it a fairly adaptable technology.
Something interesting is that Not only Samsung uses AMOLED screens. The newly launched realme GT3 uses an AMOLED panel, the Xiaomi 13 or the Honor Magic5 Lite also and we can see these panels in the OPPO Find N2 Flipwhich is direct competition to Samsung’s Flip.
And, eye, Samsung supplies screens to Apple for the manufacture of the iPhonealthough as we see in cases like the iPhone 14 Prothen Apple makes its design-level modifications to bring these panels up to its standards.
Although OLED technology is not from Samsung (In fact, Sony was one of the companies that got the most out of OLED in its early days), I think it has become clear that it is the South Korean company that is getting the most out of it, both in its devices and by selling its panels to third parties.
However, Another important player in this industry is LG.. They no longer manufacture mobiles (being the LG Wing one of their latest, and strange, creations), but they supply panels and have the registered trademark P-OLED or Plastic OLED (polymer light emitting diode).
It is an OLED panel, but with matrix substrate is plastic instead of glass. This allows them to weigh less, be more flexible (which is why LG experimented a lot with panels that curved) and be somewhat cheaper.
There are not too many mobile phones that currently use this type of panel, since Samsung has taken over the market, and they had a serious reputation problem with the pixel 2. It was the panel that Google chose and there were several problems such as viewing angles that distorted the colors (it looked blue to the minimum) and the famous burning problem.
If that seems like a lot, wait: there are more types of OLED panels
Returning to the LG Wing, it was a curious mobile because it mounted two OLED technologies: one screen had the P-OLED panel while the secondary one, the one below, had a G-OLED panel.
We are not going to go into detail on all types of OLED panels that exist because we would not finish and, in addition, the objective was to see the main types of panels that we have in current mobiles (Samsung being the one that dominates the market), but we are going to give a few lines of each one so that you have a better idea general.
- G-OLED – Glass OLED. This one is funny because it’s very similar to AMOLED, with glass as the transmission film, but LG used it for the LG G8s ThinQas well as the secondary screen of the aforementioned Wing.
- TOLED – Transparent OLED. Transparent OLED panels. They have a cathode that faces one side and an anode that reflects light to the other. When the LEDs are turned off the panel is 70-85% transparent and we have seen examples from both LG and Xiaomi, the My Lux TV.
- SOLED – Stacked OLED. It is an OLED panel that orders the pixels differently. In a traditional panel, each pixel has a red, blue and green sub-pixel, whereas in a SOLED these are stacked, one on top of the other.
- FOLED – Flexible OLED. Its name tells us everything: flexible OLED panels. They are cheap to produce because they can be made by “rolls”.
- WOLED- White OLED. To traditional RGB it adds a white pixel. It improves the durability of the panel, but the white pixels absorb a lot of light and the resulting brightness is lower.
- UHPD OLED – Ultra High Pixel Density OLED. The name is quite descriptive and it is an AMOLED with an immense pixel density. It goes from a cluster of pixels at a distance of 77.3 microns to a minuscule 13.4 microns, achieving a beastly density of 2,228 pixels per inch. Something like this would be ideal for virtual reality glasses, but it is still far from being commercialized.
- MOLDED – Microcavity OLED. Trials began in 1999 to apply strong light directionality using dielectric and metallic mirrors. This could increase the intensity of light up to five times. They are not suitable for devices such as mobiles.
- QD-OLED – Quantum Dot-OLED. This technology is being commercialized and it is Samsung that has taken the lead. It is a cross between QLED and OLED that results in higher brightness and a wider color space thanks to quantum dots. Use the blue light to generate the other two primaries.
There are other types, but most are experimental. or whose applications are not possible for technical reasons or because, simply, later models were better.
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