Samsung’s lead in smartphone display technology is ever widening
Although Nokia was the first brand that launched a mobile phone with an AMOLED screen (the Nokia N85), it was Samsung that popularized the technology by using it consistently on its phones and bringing it to more and more price points with each passing year. The Nokia N85 was launched in August 2008, and the Samsung i7710 followed in October in the same year, with both of them featuring a similarly-sized screen and resolution. Both Nokia and Samsung continued releasing phones with AMOLED screens. Other brands, including HTC and LG, also started using OLED technology in their phones over the years.
While OLED screen technology offered great contrast, wide viewing angles, and thin panels, it came with a few caveats. First and foremost, the panels weren’t bright enough, and they suffered from something called ‘screen burn-in’. Moreover, the colour reproduction was far from accurate and power efficiency went for a toss while displaying whites. It took a few years for OLED panel makers to iron out these issues, and Samsung was at the forefront of solving them. The brightness levels went from around 400 nits on the Galaxy S to more than 600 nits on the Galaxy S5 and over 1,200 nits on the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung didn’t just stop there. It introduced the Galaxy Note Edge as the first phone with a curved edge screen, which was then introduced and improved on with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7, ultimately ending up as the beautiful Infinity Display we see on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8.
DisplayMate, a screen testing and calibration equipment manufacturer, tested all the recent flagship phones from Samsung and noted that the colour accuracy was brilliant and has consistently rated the company’s AMOLED displays as the best in the industry. AU Optronics, BOE Display, Everdisplay, Foxconn, JDI, Sharp, Truly, and Visionox are some of the new brands that have started manufacturing OLED screens. However, Samsung’s OLED panels for mobile devices are considered the best in the world, thanks to the time and research the company has invested over the years. LG is the company’s closest competitor and it recently launched its flagship phone, the V30, with a bezel-less P-OLED screen, but it is far from perfect.
Now, nine years after Samsung’s first OLED phone, Apple has jumped onto the OLED bandwagon. The iPhone X is Apple’s first phone with an OLED screen and minimal bezels (although the Cupertino giant has managed to ruin symmetry by going overboard with the no-bezel theme). Apple is known to source parts from nothing but the best, and it has turned to Samsung for a reason. The newest-generation OLED panels from Samsung have great color accuracy, can go extremely bright, and cover a wide variety of color spaces. Screen burn-in has also been greatly reduced, and power efficiency has only increased with each passing year.
It’s taken a few years to get here, but there’s no question that Samsung’s persistence has paid off in ways beneficial to both the company and its consumers. And, while Samsung’s position in the OLED display segment remains unchallenged, it isn’t resting on its laurels. We see the company make noticeable improvements to its flagship phone displays every six months, and it’s even planning to launch a foldable phone next year. Making a phone with a foldable screen would be no easy task, but should Samsung manage to do it satisfactorily, it would be close to impossible for other brands to imitate. Apple is finally making a phone with an OLED display, but it will probably see its chief competitor change the game with its foldable phone before the second OLED-equipped iPhone makes it to market.
What I’m getting to with this article is that Samsung’s lead in smartphone display technology is unmatched, and the company shows no signs of stopping in its relentless pursuit to perfect the viewing experience on mobile devices. Galaxy flagships offer tons of features that make them impressive, but those stunning displays up front are what continue to attract millions of consumers. It’s something to be proud of for every Samsung fan, and we can’t wait to see what the Korean giant will bring to the table next year.