An OLED-Info reader recently raised the question - where are the OLED laptops and OLED monitors? This is an interesting question. Samsung currently produces AMOLEDs ranging in size from 1.63" for wearables to 10.5" tablet displays and LG Display is mass producing 55", 65" and even 77" OLED TVs.
It seems that technically there shouldn't be a problem producing 13-15 inch OLED panels for laptops or even 20-25 inch panels for monitors. In terms of pixel density, these panels will be simpler to make compared to Samsung's mobile phone panels. Even a 13" 4K laptop panel will require only 339 PPI - much lower than SDC's latest 5.1" QHD panels (577 PPI). And of course SDC can start with a 15" FHD panel (146 PPI) which is easier to produce.
And how much will start a display cost? LG Display is currently selling a 55" FHD OLED TV for $3,499. Such a panel is over 17 times larger in area compared to a 13" panel. Even if we assume that the cost of the 55" panel itself is $3,500, it means that producing a 13" panel should cost about $200 for LGD. Of course this is a difficult comparison, but remember that yields will be much higher for smaller panels which will decrease production cost.
For Samsung, we can take a bottom-up approach. The 5.1" FHD panel used in the GS5 is estimated at about $65. A 13" panel is about 7 times as large as a 5.1" panel, which means we can extrapolate the cost at $450. Samsung's 10.5" AMOLED tablet (287 PPI) costs $499, and it's highly unlikely that the AMOLED panel costs more than $150 to produce.
I think it is fair to estimate that if SDC or LGD decide to mass produce 13" AMOLEDs, they can achieve production prices of about $300 per panel. This is much more expensive compared to an LCD (13" LED-LCD replacement for Apple's laptops retail for about $200). In fact it will probably add about $200 to the price of the 13" laptop.
While I understand that the laptop and monitor markets are probably not as sexy as the tablet, mobile phone, TV and wearable markets, this seems a marketing miss by the OLED makers. In past months it was reported that the tablet market is actually in decline, while the PC and notebook sales are on the rise. In addition, I believe there's a clear market for premium laptops - as evident by the latest ultrabooks. I believe many consumers will be happy to pay $200 - $300 more for a 13" OLED laptop if it is thinner, lighter and with a much better image quality.
Samsung, by the way, has been showing OLED Laptop prototypes since 2009.
A 23" OLED monitor will probably cost more than $1,000 to produce. This means it will only be suitable for the high-end professional market as not many people will want to spend $1,500 or more on a monitor. There are very expensive monitors on the market today (with costs of $2,000 and more), so this is obviously a real market. But on the other hand I can understand that SDC and LGD prefer to wait a while before starting to produce these high-cost AMOLED panels for this market as it is likely quite small in terms of volume.
So there you have it. Come on Samsung, it's time to bring on the first OLED laptop!