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Hardware Technology

AMOLED Displays Are Now Cheaper To Produce Than LCD (androidauthority.com) 157

An anonymous reader quotes an article on AndroidAuthority: Optics pundits have been crowing about AMOLED destroying LCD for a while now: they are thinner, brighter, more energy efficient and arguably offer better colors, higher contrast, and deeper saturation than LCD. The biggest barrier stopping AMOLED from taking over as the smartphone display technology of choice has been price. Until now that is. As predicted two years ago, it has only taken 24 months for AMOLED production costs to fall below that of LCD. Production costs in the first quarter for a 5-inch Full HD smartphone display are $14.30 for an AMOLED panel and $14.60 for an LCD display. In the fourth quarter of 2015, these figures were $17.10 and $15.70, respectively. [...] With AMOLED production costs dropping below LCD for the first time, AMOLED panels will soon become the default display technology choice for manufacturers on their mid-range and entry-level devices as well.
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AMOLED Displays Are Now Cheaper To Produce Than LCD

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:27AM (#51768773)

    I like to leave my phone plugged in, next to me on my desk, and in developer mode where keeping the screen on is an option. The icons burn into place eventually. I no longer keep the display on all the time and it sucks I can't simply glance at my phone for weather and other info.

    Has this issue been resolved? Granted my phone is 3 years old now.

    • by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <web@pineapple.vg> on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:39AM (#51768881) Homepage
      You are supposed to buy a new phone every year, the industry sees you as a problem customer who can be whipped into compliance with shorter-lasting displays and batteries
      • And with burn-in and shorter OLED life, you'll soon have the joy and excitement of getting a new 70 inch TV every year.
    • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:39PM (#51769495)

      From what I understand, the blue OLED ages at a faster rate than the rest of the display, which means that it will appear to turn yellow over time. If you have a static image on the display, then it will age unevenly.

      LCD panels don't age in a way that makes the colors change, so they don't get burn in (the closest thing they get to burn in is image persistence, which is only temporary.)

      • From what I understand, the blue OLED ages at a faster rate than the rest of the display, which means that it will appear to turn yellow over time. If you have a static image on the display, then it will age unevenly.

        LCD panels don't age in a way that makes the colors change, so they don't get burn in (the closest thing they get to burn in is image persistence, which is only temporary.)

        They do but less pronounced. Changes in output spectrum due to backlight aging is still enough to make it worthwhile for artists/photo pros to periodically recalibrate. This is also why brightness controls tend to be driven by PWM.

      • LCD panels don't age in a way that makes the colors change, so they don't get burn in (the closest thing they get to burn in is image persistence, which is only temporary.)

        I keep hearing this repeated, but it isn't really accurate. We have some iPad 2 devices which were used with their screen permanently active for a few weeks, frequently showing the same image. They're still burned in with the same image several years later, despite us changing the usage pattern to avoid displaying a static image.

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:44PM (#51769563)

      Heh. I was at Best Buy a few days ago and they had this bigTV advertising how awesome it is because it's OLED. It was so awesome that when the demo changed to some moving footage the ghost of the "OLED IS AWESOME!" text was still there.

      Basically they demonstrated not only that those screens burn in but that they do it pretty fast, too! Glad I didn't order this TV through Amazon.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        You would think they would have learned from plasma TVs. Plasma screens can't be beat for image, but especially in the first 1000 hours you have to be careful about burn-in.

        Such a shame they stopped making them. When my Panasonic dies whatever replaces it will have inferior colour.

        • by rbrander ( 73222 )

          Amen. I feel lucky (OK, I also feel smart and smug) to have bought a plasma right near the end - but just before I had to get a "Smart TV". (I noticed a TV in a hotel the other week took about 20 seconds just to "boot"....about the same time the tubes took to warm up in the 19" B&W I watched Roy Rogers on in 1964...apparently, some things really don't change...)

          At a friend's insistence, I took his "New TV burn in" DVD and wore out an old DVD player; it just cycled through screens of solid colour for t

        • I hated plasma screens - they always looked "smeary" to me. Only way I can think of to describe it. Maybe I only saw bad ones, but I saw enough to think that's unlikely.

          I also hated the amount of heat they put out ...

          • I have no idea how long ago you saw plasmas, but those issues, burn in and power usage (which you alluded to), were largely covered. (That is, while they may still use on average some more power, it's not the tons and tons more that used to be.)

            I "only" have a plasma because I got it after my old Trinitron died (many years ago now)..

            But plasma TVs were the first thing I thought of when reading the thread title -- cheaper and better looking than the competition. Unfortunately plasma production has basicall

    • by ryanmc1 ( 682957 )
      yes, since you are using it at your desk, it is called a weather widget on your computer
    • I like to leave my phone plugged in, next to me on my desk, ....

      OK this is almost silly.
      An old phone connected via WiFi only will let you see Weather,
      messages from Mom and listen to cached cloud music. Buildings
      have such terrible cell reception that WiFi is nearly required.

      At no time should a company allow portable devices to connect
      to a network with company data or resources. Employees
      want to be connected so establish a non production network
      hobble the bandwidth as needed to something like 10/100 max.
      Sure, require a password that is changed sort of often post it in

    • Exactly why I bought LCD instead of OLED tablets for my family

  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:27AM (#51768777)
    http://www.alphr.com/realworld... [alphr.com]

    I used a music app on my phone for a while and after a few months, it's buttons were permanently burned in because I left the screen on so I could skip songs while driving. It kinda sucked.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Shouldn't be a problem with Android or Apple UIs. The UIs change so often that it's very unlikely the image would burn-in.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:20PM (#51769271) Homepage

      find a video of a travelling red/black bar and play it for an extended time on the screen. This is how you fixed burn in problems on plasma TV's and it should work the same on an OLED.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • I have a phone designed in 2008 that turns the screen off a few minutes after a user has interacted with it for everything other than GPS mapping and playing videos. If it is playing music files or streaming audio the design is sane enough to keep the sound going while turning the screen off.
      There is no excuse for having an inferior design to that in 2016.
  • by foxalopex ( 522681 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:28AM (#51768779)

    I've always admired OLEDs based screens for their colour accuracy and amazing flatness. With falling costs they would actually make the perfect display. Unfortunately, I am not sure if they resolved the issue of the pixels gradually burning out especially when it comes to blue leaving you with a yellow screen over the long term. It might not matter so much in a phone which typically arn't used more than a few years but that's not something you would want in a TV or monitor.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:32AM (#51768821)

    Is that a nasty display with horrible color accuracy like the Atrix 4G or a nice quality panel similar to the one used in the Galaxy S5? Because I'd rather have LCD than a bad AMOLED.

    • Re:Which AMOLED (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:01PM (#51769063) Homepage

      Indeed. When I got my last phone, which has an IPS display, I compared with two coworkers who had recently gotten phones (similar price range) with AMOLED displays. The color quality was far better on my phone, something they both agreed on. Colour on AMOLED in all cases felt "oversaturated" in some colours while others looked lacking or "off". For anyone who's ever worked with LED grow lights, where your colors are broken down into distinct bands and it messes with your vision, it was that sort of effect on the small scale. In particular, it left the whites not really feeling completely white. The images on theirs also looked blurrier even though we had comparable resolutions.

      I'm not sure why the AMOLED woulds seem blurrier, but the colour issue makes good sense; IPS uses a white LED backlight while AMOLED uses tiny RGB LEDs. White LEDs don't directly emit light; the light hits a phosphor and that emits broader spectrum light. The IPS polarization filters are paired up with colour filters which cut off out-of-band light but do not narrow (to any relevant degree) the spectrum of light passing through them. Color LEDs, however, emit light on a single frequency. It's actually one of their strengths in many contexts. But it's very poor for reproducing accurate colour.

      At least given the state of the technology the last time I compared, I would definitely not switch to AMOLED. If that means my phone is a tad larger and heavier due to the display size and increased battery draw, so be it. I want image quality.

      • Indeed. When I got my last phone, which has an IPS display, I compared with two coworkers who had recently gotten phones (similar price range) with AMOLED displays. The color quality was far better on my phone, something they both agreed on.

        Colour on AMOLED in all cases felt "oversaturated" in some colours while others looked lacking or "off".

        A problem with AMOLED some vendors are taking shortcuts to cut costs using pentile displays with copious amounts of missing subpixels they figure nobody will notice/miss. I think we need better labeling up front so people know exactly what they are buying. I don't know exactly what you saw but your description is a common reaction to crappy pentile displays.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Many AMOLED displays use a pentile arrangement where you don't have individual red/green/blue pixels per pixel site. Might explain the reduced perceived resolution.

        And yeah - in theory AMOLED's far more saturated primaries should be a major advantage, especially when viewing wide-gamut content like Adobe RGB - but if you don't desaturate the display for sRGB content it's going to look bogus.

        I wonder if the gamut of most mobile AMOLEDs is wider than DCI P3... not like consumers ever get content in the P3 g

      • Colour on AMOLED in all cases felt "oversaturated" in some colours while others looked lacking or "off".

        That's not the display's fault, it's the driver / OS. AMOLED can display as perfect of a colour gamut as possible with 3 primary colours. This is a GOOD THING. The problem is when someone then buys such a display and then slaps it into a device that does no colour management on the output. It's the same reason Slashdot looks horribly saturated on my desktop monitor when viewed with Chrome, but looks fine in Firefox (colour management + non standard display).

        In particular, it left the whites not really feeling completely white.

        That's a long levity routine. Let me guess it look

    • Is that a nasty display with horrible color accuracy

      Displays don't have horrible colour accuracy. The OS's colour management and display routines do.

    • you can also have a bad LCD...

  • No thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @11:36AM (#51768857)

    Do you want an LCD with a decades-old lifespan or AMOLED with burn-in problems within a few months?

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Really?

      My Samsung phone is three years old and has AMOLED screen - not a problem. Girlfriend has the same phone for the same amount of time... no problem.

      And I deliberately disable all screensavers and moving shite on the screen, so it's spends 99% of its powered-on life showing the same icons in the same place.

      I don't know what cheap crap you're buying but it's go nothing to do with the underlying tech of AMOLED.

      • My Samsung phone is three years old and has AMOLED screen - not a problem. Girlfriend has the same phone for the same amount of time... no problem.

        Yes really. AMOLED has a well defined degrade characteristic. My 4 year old phone shows sign of burn in which are immediately obvious with a test pattern but generally not an issue in normal use.

        Thing is given it's use throughout the day I fully expect to have the same issue with a computer monitor in 9 months given the duty of the screens. AMOLED is fine for phones, fine for tablets (unless you're my parents and spend hours watching movies on tablets, their's is wreaked by the way, very obvious yellowing i

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )
          It's really only a problem for a TV if you spend most of your time watching the same channel, so leave your TV susceptible to logo burn-in, or bottom bar burn-in if it is a news channel.
      • My Samsung phone is three years old and has AMOLED screen - not a problem. I don't know what cheap crap you're buying but it's go nothing to do with the underlying tech of AMOLED.

        AMOLED is made of millions of tiny light bulbs that get dimmer as long as they are on.

        You can improve the light bulbs or compensate for it with calibration tables but it has everything to do with the underlying technology.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      manufacturers want the AMOLED.

      they utterly HATE with a passion anyone that keeps a product more than 1 year without buying a new one. Those kinds of customers are scum that are stealing from them.

      • Hello manufacturers! My ThinkPad 760XL says hi!

      • Which doesn't make much sense as the US carriers at least all have 2 year replacement periods (actually 16 month...). Why make the user experience miserable near the end when they are shopping for their next phone?

    • You ever wonder why screensavers are called that? Because they were invented to help prevent burn-in on CRTs (the phosphors would degrade with use over time), thus saving the screen. Seriously, this problem was solved decades ago. The only usage where you need to watch out for burn-in is for always-on displays, like airport flight schedule displays.

      On a phone or tablet, you can help by using the device in different orientations or upside down - the software doesn't care, and only the position of the p
      • What about computers, where program interfaces are always in the same spot in your daily usage?

        • In computer monitors, most people buy TN garbage, and if you want a nice display you get IPS. AMOLED is not meant for durable goods, the blue pixels fade after only a couple years.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          For devices prone to burn-in such as plasma displays there is often firmware that shifts the image slightly if the device has been on for a long time.
      • You ever wonder why screensavers are called that? Because they were invented to help prevent burn-in on CRTs (the phosphors would degrade with use over time), thus saving the screen. Seriously, this problem was solved decades ago.

        You fail to understand the technology. CRT's burn in the front of the phosphor tube by over exciting the same area. AMOLEDs don't burn in as such, they burn out. Running a screensaver instead of turning them off would simply make the problem far worse than it already is, which is the fact that the blue pixels die at a faster rate than the others. The problem is very real and can't be fixed by your magic software.

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )

        On a phone or tablet, you can help by using the device in different orientations or upside down - the software doesn't care, and only the position of the physical volume buttons changes (the screen off button doesn't really matter with AMOLED since it doesn't have a backlight to turn off). Heck, I grab my phone upside down half the time anyway.

        Except the standard Google Launcher does not rotate at all, and a lot of programs only work in 3 of the 4 possible orientations (usually not upside down portrait mo

    • Do you want an LCD with a decades-old lifespan or AMOLED with burn-in problems within a few months?

      There is no way my phone will last for decades. Too many parts of it are tiny and fiddly. It only has to last for five years tops, more like three, before I'm on to the next device.

      For a desktop display, I share your concerns. For small devices, it doesn't really matter.

  • by Agent0013 ( 828350 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:01PM (#51769061) Journal

    For the wall mounted TV panels I have gotten Plasma and love it. I don't really understand why LCD is much more popular because all of the things you would want in a picture seem to lean to Plasma as better. Better contrast, darker blacks, brighter more vibrant colors, better viewing angle. The only thing that LCD has on it's side is better bright light viewing, but my TV is not in the sun-room, so that is not a problem for me and probably most people. And burn-in has not been a problem with the two of them that I have had. On the first one you might see after images for a minute when you left something paused, but they always went away quickly.

    Sometimes there are strange "Sheeple" reasons why some things succeed and other fail in the marketplace.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:29PM (#51769387)

      Heat and power consumption? A customer has a plasma set near in a confined space I have to work and it's like standing by a space heater.

      • Heat and power consumption? A customer has a plasma set near in a confined space I have to work and it's like standing by a space heater.

        Power consumption isn't that much more than LCD. The main driver was production cost. Cost per inch of Plasma TV's were higher than LCD. Finally, as far as I know, they never solved the problem of being able to produce smaller plasma TVs (i.e. 40 inch or less) which is a large portion of the market.

        I have one of the last 52" Plasma models produced by Samsung and it's still going strong (much as I would like to replace it with a bigger LCD TV). I primarily got it for movies, which look awesome on it. An

        • Power consumption isn't that much more than LCD.

          Maybe if you're comparing the latest and greatest plasma produced to the first ever LCD. The power consumption was FAR higher, far enough that it heated the room with waste energy. .

    • Better contrast, darker blacks, brighter more vibrant colors, better viewing angle.

      If you have a quality LCD, Plasma is only infinitesimally superior in any of those regards. Meanwhile, it consumes a lot more power and tends to take up more space for equal cash outlay.

      The only thing that LCD has on it's side is better bright light viewing, but my TV is not in the sun-room, so that is not a problem for me and probably most people.

      I suspect both that most people have the largest windows in the living room, and that most people have the largest TV in the living room; therefore most people would have the most problem with light in the room they're most likely to watch TV in.

      And burn-in has not been a problem with the two of them that I have had. On the first one you might see after images for a minute when you left something paused, but they always went away quickly.

      But that actually sucks! It's what sucks about IPS LCD, too, at least the early

  • Samsung leads the way with these panels, and puts the best technology into its own flagship models. Apple is quickly trying to fix this problem by investing in AMOLED, and it looks like they will move to the technology in 2018 through a partnership with JDI (just in time for the iPhone 8). In the mean time, I'm guessing the iPhone 7 will have a quantum dot display, as this can match AMOLED for color saturation (interestingly, this strength of AMOLED is something Tim Cook was spreading FUD about last year -

    • I'm guessing the iPhone 7 will have a quantum dot display, as this can match AMOLED for color saturation

      Given how an AMOLED has perfect colour saturation in terms of breadth of the emission spectrum for each colour, I will wait on that. I'm skeptical for two reasons: Firstly all the marketing claims that they have better colour than AMOLED which I find hard to believe that they are capable of unless they are using more than the 3 primaries or have invented new colour spectrum that humans can't see, and secondly because this is still somewhat experimental.

      I don't see why the iPhone 7 would have a QDLCD display

      • QDLCD is not particularly cutting edge. You just swap out the colour filter for a QD film. It has been used in TVs for a while now, but nobody other than Apple is really doing much innovating with LCD in the mobile space (especially now, as the article states, AMOLED is cheaper). Apple's problem is that it is a premium company who doesn't have access to AMOLED panels (I guess Samsung Displays would probably sell to them, but then they end up dependent on them for a key component again).

        Major interim benefit

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

          It has been used in TVs for a while now

          Right I missed that. Did a bit of digging. Not as good as OLED colour wise. Not as good as Plasma either. Slightly better than standard LCD (but then so is my 10 year old monitor). Shows that you should never believe the marketing. But I guess it's still cutting edge in that it's not available in any high-DPI displays that I can see.

          Major interim benefit of QDLCD is that you don't lose as much energy as with a colour filter. The backlight dominates power consumption in the phone

          I read that as something else. It means BRIGHTER displays :-). Don't be under the delusion that you'll ever get better battery life. The energy efficiency gains are always offse

        • Apple's problem is that it is a premium company who doesn't have access to AMOLED panels (I guess Samsung Displays would probably sell to them, but then they end up dependent on them for a key component again).

          Doesn't have access or doesn't want the technology? I think that one does not mean the other. Considering the lengths that Apple would go through to acquire technology like loaning suppliers capital for business expansions [asymco.com], I think that if Apple wanted AMOLED panels, they could get them.

        • Apple's problem is that it is a premium company who doesn't have access to AMOLED panels (I guess Samsung Displays would probably sell to them, but then they end up dependent on them for a key component again).

          I would imagine a couple of the biggest problems for Samsung in selling to Apple is getting past their approval process and sufficient yield. When a new Samsung phone comes out, there aren't generally lines around the block waiting for it. The distribution channel has time to get filled-up. But when a new Apple phone comes out, the raw-materials suppliers have to be ready to supply a BURST of product (and this product ALL has to meet specs), or everybody is in trouble, pronto!

          I don't think that AMOLED sti

    • this strength of AMOLED is something Tim Cook was spreading FUD about last year

      This is what Tim Cook said about OLED in Feb 2013 (not last year):

      When you look at displays, some people are focused on size. There’s a few other things about the display that are important. Some people use OLED displays, the color saturation is awful.

      In fact, reading articles [androidauthority.com] from back then, over-saturation was a problem for AMOLED displays. Since that time OLED technology has worked on many of the shortcomings including contrast, saturation, and cost. However not all OLED displays are equal as the Android forums [androidcentral.com] have noted as a few months ago. I don't see that as FUD.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:17PM (#51769241) Homepage Journal
    Are AMOLED displays available in transflective form? Because I thought that was an LCD-only technology, and to be honest, I'd rather see phones go transflective than a supposedly superior technology that doesn't display anything when unlit, even if the latter has superficial benefits when the screen is "lit".
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      AMOLED fundamentally works by emitting light from the individual subpixel elements, it's not an LCD and therefore it does not require backlighting to work. That also means it cannot be transflective.
  • So... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:41PM (#51769527)
    Will AMOLED customizable jewelry be a thing by this Christmas, or next Christmas?
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Thursday March 24, 2016 @12:45PM (#51769573)

    I want reliable displays that will last for at least a decade without problems. Having suffered thru CRT style burn-in I have no desire to purchase a device prone to the same problems.

    • these AMOLED have much shorter life because the organics used decompose, great for forced obsolescence. maybe they'll be used in big monitors so everyone has to refresh every three years.

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