OLED as screen technology came into Laptops the last years. But what exactly is the difference compared to a regular decent LCD screen? We’ll sort it out and how they work!
What is OLED?
OLED is a screen technology that has taken the technology industry by storm in recent years, at least when it comes to TVs and smartphones. OLED screens in laptops have been worse, until now. But what is the difference compared to a more classic LCD screen?
Technology in brief
Simply explained, the big technical difference between OLED and LCD screens is how they emit light. An LCD screen, needs some kind of backlight to render an image while it is the pixels themselves that glow in an OLED panel.
How LCD works
LCD stands for liquid-crystal display and the name says quite a lot about the technology. Each pixel in an LCD screen consists of liquid crystals that can either make the pixel opaque or different degrees of transparent. This is combined with some kind of backlight to display an image. Most often, the backlight consists of LEDs, hence some screens are sometimes called LED screens, although they are also LCD screens.
How OLED works
The name OLED is an acronym that stands for organic light emitting diode. The last three letters are therefore exactly the same as the word LED. The difference, however, is that these diodes are organic, hence the O. Organic in this context means that the diode is carbon-based, just like any living thing on Earth. But no, unfortunately,(?) that doesn’t mean your OLED screen is a living organism.
As with regular LEDs, these organic diodes emit light when they receive an electric current. Thus, all pixels in an OLED display are individual OLED diodes that make each individual pixel its own light source. As with LCD, what we call a pixel is actually several different sub-pixels that glow in red, blue and green, for example.
From mobiles to TV and now laptops
OLED is a relatively new technology, and some may associate it with the flagship mobiles and finer TVs of recent years. However, OLED screens have been found in consumer electronics since the mid-2000s.
Then, of course, technology was still in its cradle. It was expensive to manufacture, image quality was far from what it is today, and it was difficult to produce large screens. The latter meant that it was mostly in media players and mobile phones that OLED screens were found at the beginning.
Did you know that... More recently, we have started to see mobile phones with foldable screens and TVs that can be rolled up. Did you know that these devices are only possible thanks to OLED technology? Moreover, this is only the beginning. Of course, we don't know exactly what the future holds, but maybe an OLED wallpaper?
It’s in the 2010s that technology really explodes when it starts appearing in smartphones here and there and then makes its entrance into the TV market. The first OLED TV actually arrived back in 2007, but since it was no larger than 11 inches, we don’t really know if it should count. It takes another 6 years before we finally got to see real TV-sized OLED panels. Since then, the size has gone up and the price down so now OLED-screen TVs are nothing unusual anymore.
You might think it’s a bit odd that it went from 3 inches to 42 inches, while it’s not until now that we’ve seen OLED in computer and laptop screens. The reason is that there were a couple of technical difficulties, such as heat development, which have now been solved.
Another Kodak invention … The Kodak company is probably best known for having revolutionized the world of photography and film in the 19th century and for inventing the world's first digital camera in the 70's. In fact, there are also two chemists at Kodak who are attributed the invention of OLED.