AMOLEDs Are Getting the Better of Retina Displays

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Ever since Apple launched its retina display, it has become one of the major attractions of its top products. The technology which Tim Cook boasts about was introduced with the iPhone 4 during Steve Jobs’s reign. This is the Apple standard of displaying content with pixelation that the human eye cannot detect – quite a pixel-rich experience, what with Steve Jobs and his team developing pixels a mere 78 micrometers wide, enabling Apple’s engineers to pack 326 pixels per inch (PPI). It’s not an exaggeration that they were able to pack four times the number of pixels into the same 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen found on earlier iPhone models.

Apple MacBook Pro with retina display. Source:

Apple MacBook Pro with retina display.

The power of AMOLED

But, every technology has its own Achilles’ heel. It’s time for Apple to acknowledge the popularity of Super AMOLED displays. Samsung has come up with Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) technology (an improvement over the OLED system), with its variants of ‘Super AMOLED’ and ‘Super AMOLED Plus’.

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LCD displays require a dedicated backlight to generate colors and retina display uses one of these. Retina displays use the backlight to generate black color, and hence, cannot generate perfect black levels, resulting in high power consumption. AMOLED, on the contrary, is a display based on organic compounds. A TFT layer injects electricity into the organic layer, generating necessary colors. Individual pixels on AMOLEDs are capable of creating their own light as the pixel displaying black color does not create any light. No wonder why Samsung offers the best possible

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Although Apple has achieved excellent viewing angles with LCD IPS (In-plane Switching), AMOLED displays when viewed from any angle look like printed paper. Added to this is its low power consumption and thinner display which gives it the advantage over retina display. In simple words, why the sun is brighter than the moon is the same reason why the Samsung Galaxy S3 is brighter than an iPhone. Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC Droid DNA, Sony Xperia Z, Blackberry Dev Alpha 10 are some others that have successfully achieved a higher PPI than iPhone 5.


Full HD Super AMOLED screen of Samsung Galaxy S4. Source:

Microsoft has also developed a new Super AMOLED display that actually bends. They call it YOUM. By using a plastic backing rather than the traditional glass and metal, YOUM display is capable of taking the place of a watch on your wrist.

A combination of factors like physical screen material, technologies, pixel layouts, brightness, color accuracy, contrast ratio, reflectance, screen size, pixel resolution, etc makes AMOLED my favorite.

Is Apple deliberately avoiding the many benefits of OLEDs? Well, sources say it is a matter of
supply dominated by Samsung Display, which makes over 90% of AMOLED screens. Apple and Samsung were recently engaged in intense legal battles and the arch rivalry was powerfully felt in Tim Cook’s statement last month when he called OLED screens “awful”. He said, “If you ever buy anything online and really want to know what the color is… you should really think twice before you depend on the color from an OLED display.” This despite the fact that OLED is the next gen for TV technology. With its superior performance characteristics of plasma and LCD, it’s expected to be used in over two million TVs by 2015. (Source: NPD DisplaySearch)

While a retina display can get you hooked on (even from the simplest iPod), be assured that the Full HD Super AMOLED screen will be an absolute delight!

(Featured image source:

Deepak Sirwani
Deepak Sirwani

Deepak knows the art of monetizing patents and he showcases their value to the world. And if there is a patented technology that can change the world dramatically, you’ll find a mention in his blogs.

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