Samsung brought together all its OLED development teams under one roof in January, 2009, by establishing a new company called Samsung Mobile Display (SMD). SMD, now with 400 people, is no longer, by any standards, a skunkworks.
Through joint financing from Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, SMD is set up to “draw upon Samsung Electronics’ market-leading capabilities for LCD panels and its large-scale Active Matrix OLED R&D, and from Samsung SDI’s AM OLED mass production technology and its development capabilities for LCD modules,” according to Samsung.
Indeed, SMD already created the world's only high-volume OLED manufacturing line (a Gen 4 plant in Cheonan), with $3 billion revenue in 2009. In 2010, 20 percent of smart phones are projected to use OLED for their displays. By 2015, 50 percent of smart phones will be using OLED, predicted Samsung.
Still, the transition from making OLED for mobile screens to production for large-scale TV requires huge advancements in technology.
OLED has always been the darling of technical conferences like the Society of Information Display (SID). It holds the promise of the thinner, brighter and greener (more efficient) displays. And yet, for established applications -- such as large-screen TVs, existing technologies (i.e. LCD TVs) have always seemed a step ahead of OLED, leaving the dream of OLED perpetually tantalizing.
Samsung’s Berkeley noted, “We are not saying that OLEDs will replace LCDs.” However, he stressed that Active-Matrix OLED (AMOLED) “needs no backlight, no color filter and no second glass (like an LCD panel does).” That makes OLED a low cost alternative.
Further, when compared to PDPs and LCDs, AMOLED is “the only display that is both self-emissive and active matrix,” he added. “OLED is green and it is getting even greener.”