This technology produces displays that are flexible and bendable. Samsung claims that the displays will be nearly unbreakable.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung showed a prototype device incorporating Youm. The screen on the device extended to the edge of the device so that if the device was put flat on a table with the cover on it, the edge would still display an incoming text or email. Samsung also brought in Microsoft (MSFT) to display a Windows Phone prototype incorporating Youm. One inference is that the first phone Samsung introduces using Youm will be a Windows Phone and not a phone based on Google (GOOG) Android. It is conceivable that Nokia (NOK) may be close behind Samsung in incorporating similar technology.
Samsung is not the only one with OLED technology, but Samsung is believed to be the most advanced and closest to bringing flexible, bendable and unbreakable OLED screens in mass produced phones and tablets. There is even a rumor that Galaxy SIV, the upcoming successor to the popular Galaxy SIII, will include an OLED display. We have no independent confirmation of this rumor.
Apple (AAPL) is believed to be far behind Samsung in OLED technology.
Ordinary LEDs were introduced in 1962. The work that forms the basis of OLEDs was done in 1960, but widespread commercial applications of OLED technology have come to fruition only within the last two years. DuPont (DD) has played a key role in the development of OLED technology.
Traditionally it has been difficult to mass produce OLEDs. Further OLEDs structures are inherently unstable. OLEDs were also limited by the life span of organic materials that transferred light. For example historically materials used in blue OLEDs had a life span of 14,000 hours to half original brightness, compared to 40,000 hours for traditional LEDs.
Traditional OLEDs also suffered from color balance deficiencies. Materials used for the blue color deteriorated more rapidly than the materials used for other colors. Since most displays of today use only three colors red, green, and blue, this color imbalance issue has been a serious problem. OLEDs have also suffered from screen burn in issues, not dissimilar to plasma displays. Certain OLED materials also are damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Samsung appears to have overcome the foregoing problems.
Apple’s lag in this technology goes back to the days of Steve Jobs. In 2010 at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference, Jobs touted Retina Display, which relies on traditional silicon LED technology. Jobs said, “You can’t make an OLED display with this resolution, we think it is quite superior.”
Samsung’s advances in this technology have the potential to seriously hurt Apple as Samsung is believed to control up to 90% of the supply of OLED displays. Samsung may choose not to supply Youm displays to Apple or in the alternate supply such displays to Apple at inflated prices. Either way this is potentially a very negative development for Apple.