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POLED vs OLED: what are the differences?

LED displays, in their various avatars, have become the most popular display technology for consumer gadgets these days. LED, OLED, AMOLED and other such acronyms have become a part of our everyday vocabulary, like everything from smartphones to smartwatches and televisions to computer monitors, using some variants or other of this same display technology below to provide consumers with high quality yet cost-effective solutions. As technology advances at a rapid pace, another new LED technology is now being overturned by industry experts and technology enthusiasts to rapidly scale the popularity rankings. Called 'POLED or P-OLED', emerging technology should become mainstream sooner rather than later. Therefore so POLED and why is it creating waves in technology circles?

What does POLED and how does it work?

The POLED or plastic light-emitting diode a display technology that uses a flexible plastic substrate like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) instead of electroluminescent organic semiconductor glass to be deposited. The use of more malleable plastic instead of glass allows the screen panel to be folded, folded or rolled without breaking.

Image: LG courtesy

One thing to remember here that poled not the same as PMOLED . While the first is the new emerging technology that we will delve into further in this article, the latter being the acronym for Diode emitting organic light with a passive matrix which, unlike its AMOLED counterpart, does not contain a storage capacitor, making them less efficient and therefore, less prevalent in these days.


In a typical OLED panel, the true light-emitting diodes are enclosed between two sets of substrates, with a polarizer at the top. POLED basically identical to OLED, apart from the fact that uses a polyethylene (plastic) substrate instead of glass, allowing producers to produce flexible screens that can be rolled up just like paper. The use of plastic also allows these panels to be thinner and less expensive to produce compared to standard OLED displays, which are also crucial points to consider at a time when most OEMs are trying to cut costs to increase margins.

Image: LG courtesy

Intended use of POLED displays

Plastic OLEDs can be used in the production of folding or folding displays which is said to become the norm on smartphones and other personal gadgets in the next decade. It is also said that e-paper or electronic paper could benefit greatly from the use of new technology. Another possible futuristic use case for plastic OLEDs smart clothing, so if everything goes according to plan, initiatives like the Google Jacquard Project could also make use of this technology one day. In the coming years, moreover, the automotive industry will use POLED displays in their dashboards and in-car entertainment systems.

Which current devices use POLED displays?

While Samsung is widely recognized for popularizing AMOLED, the South Korean consumer electronics giant LG the company behind the POLED displays . The company announced the technology for the first time in late 2013 and has since released more smartphones and smartwatches with the new technology. The first LG device with POLED display was LG G Flex, but since then the company has launched G Flex 2, as well as a couple of smartwatches, called Watch R and Watch Urbane, with POLED display.

Advantages and disadvantages

The greatest advantage of using plastic instead of glass obviously is the durability. Because the flexible plastic is less prone to crushing glass, the POLED panels will be significantly more resistant to impacts than standard OLED panels and, therefore, they should be more resistant . However, all smartphone displays are generally equipped with a glass layer on the top, regardless of whether they have an underlying plastic substrate. So, while such panels will most likely be more durable than their all-glass counterparts, of course they will not be completely unbreakable as some online commentators seem to believe. POLED panels are also less expensive and thinner than glass-based OLEDs, which means that manufacturers will be able to build thinner smartphones and tablets using these panels. Moreover, LG also claims that the new technology will allow manufacturers to make screens with smaller frames, although, as it works, it remains to be seen.

Image: courtesy

Although POLED panels promise a lot, there are some disadvantages inherent in the use of plastic. First of all, the quality of the display. Glass has significantly better optical properties than plastic and, in general, much clearer than its less fragile counterpart. Even the plastic tends to be scratched more easily of glass, which is why LG also decided to use the layers of glass over the POLED panels on their G Flex and G Flex2 phones. It will be interesting to see how LG (or any other manufacturer in the industry) will circumvent these problems, but recent reports seem to suggest that with technological advances, these are becoming less of an impediment today than they were a few years ago.

POLED display: availability and future roadmap

While LG has not used POLED displays in any of its recent smartphones after the lukewarm response to the aforementioned Flex and Flex 2, the company recently announced that its next smartphone V30 sfogger a 6-inch giant "FullVision" display . Reportedly, LG Display recently invested about 5 trillion won ($ 4, 4 billion) in its production facilities in Paju, which is expected to produce around 120 million POLED panels this year and as many as 370 million by 2020. The rumors have also suggested that the upcoming iPhone 8 could actually be shipped with a POLED display, but nothing has been confirmed on this front, so we will have to wait a little longer to find out if this is really the case.

POLED the future of display technology?

If POLED displays will truly revolutionize the display market as they are destined to remain visible, but will provide at least to producers and consumers another option, which is always a good thing. The improved durability, the incredible subtlety and the ability to shape POLED displays in unconventional shapes and forms will surely make an important addition to the screen industry, but we will have to wait and see if it will really become as ubiquitous as the LED panels over the years to come.