Tech-Insight : What Is OLED?

In this article, we look at what OLED is and its advantages, and we take a brief look at the other types of LED displays available. 

What Is OLED? 

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is a display technology that’s used in many modern electronic devices such as smartphones, televisions, and wearable devices.  

When? 

The first OLED display was developed in the late 1980s by researchers at Eastman Kodak Company, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that OLED technology began to be commercially produced and used in electronic devices. The first commercial OLED products were small displays for mobile phones and MP3 players, which began to appear in the market around 2003. Since then, OLED technology has continued to advance, and it is now used in a wide range of electronic devices, from smartphones and tablets to televisions and wearable devices.

Not Backlit 

Unlike traditional displays that rely on a backlight to illuminate the screen, OLED displays use an organic compound that emits light when an electric current is passed through it.  

The Pixels Can Be Turned Off 

With OLED, the pixels produce the light and when they need to be black, they can turn off completely, rather than relying on a backlight to turn them off. This gives an absolute rather than a relative black, thereby adding to superior picture quality. 

Superior Image Quality & Faster Response Time 

OLED displays are known for their superior image quality, including high contrast ratios, deep blacks, and vivid colours. They also have a faster response time and consume less power than traditional displays, which makes them ideal for portable devices that need to conserve battery life. 

Two Types Of OLED Displays 

There are two types of OLED displays which are:  

1. Passive-matrix OLED (PMOLED) displays. These are typically used in small devices such as wearable technology and digital cameras. 

2. Active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays. These are used in larger devices such as smartphones and televisions. 

Other Advantages 

Some other advantages of OLED include: 

– Responsiveness. This is particularly appealing to gamers and home cinema enthusiasts. With a refresh rate as low as 0.001ms, OLED panels are significantly faster than standard LED-backlit LCD panels and even outperform the now-discontinued plasma technology. 

– The ability to produce deep blacks, bright whites and improved colour accuracy. This is because OLED panels use a tiny lighting source, which allows for an incredibly thin and lightweight form factor that enhances the viewing experience. OLED TVs, for example, offer a depth of just a few millimetres, making them much thinner and lighter than many LED TVs. 

Overall, OLED technology provides superior image quality, faster response times, and a more efficient use of power compared to traditional display technologies, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of electronic devices. 

Other Types Of LED Displays 
 
There are several other popular types of LED displays. These include: 

– LED-backlit LCD displays which use an LCD panel with a backlight made up of an array of LEDs. The LEDs illuminate the LCD panel from behind, allowing for brighter images and a wider colour gamut. 

– Mini-LED displays: These displays are similar to LED-backlit LCD displays but use a much larger number of smaller LEDs to create more localised dimming zones, resulting in better contrast and deeper blacks. 

– MicroLED displays. These displays use tiny, self-emitting LEDs to create images, which offers excellent brightness, contrast, and colour accuracy. MicroLED displays are still in the relatively early stages of development and are not yet widely available. 

– Quantum Dot displays. These very grand sounding displays use a layer of tiny nanocrystals called quantum dots to enhance colour accuracy and brightness. Quantum Dot displays are often used in conjunction with LED-backlit LCD technology. 

– Emissive displays are like OLED displays in that they use self-emitting pixels to create images. However, emissive displays can be made from materials other than organic compounds, such as quantum dots or inorganic materials. Emissive displays are still in development and are not yet widely available. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The introduction of OLED displays has had a significant impact on the electronics market for both businesses and end users. The superior image quality OLED offers compared to traditional display technologies has helped manufacturers to produce devices with higher resolution, better contrast, deeper blacks, and more accurate colours, which is a major selling point. 

The fact that OLED enables manufacturers to make thinner and lighter devices has enabled manufacturers to produce more portable devices, e.g. smartphones and tablets, where size and weight are important factors for end users, thereby saving shipping costs, and getting more revenue from new types of products that are valued by today’s consumers who like to do many things on the run. 

The increased energy-efficiency of OLED (no backlit function required) has enabled electronics manufacturers to produce devices with longer battery life, which is also a major selling point for end users. 

The thin and flexible nature of OLED displays has also enabled manufacturers to create more innovative and unique designs for their devices. For example, curved and flexible OLED displays are now being used in smartphones, televisions, and other devices. 

Overall, the introduction of OLED displays has brought significant benefits to both businesses and end users. Manufacturers are able to produce more advanced and innovative devices, while end users are able to enjoy better image quality, longer battery life, and more unique designs. 

There are several different types of LED displays in addition to OLED and each type of LED display technology has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, with manufacturers choosing the technology that best suits the needs of the device they are producing.

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