You’ve heard the name. You’ve heard the hype. Heck, there’s a good chance you’re reading this on one right now. AMOLED displays have quickly dominated the world of smartphones, and with good reason. Have you ever wondered, however, what they actually are? What is AMOLED? For that matter, what in the name of Gorilla glass is Super-AMOLED?
If you have no idea, don’t feel bad. We didn’t either, until curiosity and boredom happened to strike at precisely the same moment. Here, for your education and entertainment, is a brief run-down of exactly what these screens do, how they do it and why you really, really want one on your phone.
AMOLED Displays – What Are They?
Back to basics. AMOLED is not just a gratuitous excuse to abuse caps-lock. It actually stands for something – specifically, Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode.
That’s much simpler already, isn’t it? We’re all familiar with LEDs, those ultra-powerful and long-lasting sparkles embedded in everything from your handset’s camera flash to your night-safety key-ring.
How on earth can an LED be organic? To be honest, we’re still not completely certain. We do know that the electroluminescent material which forms the thin film display is the organic portion. Even though it’s not grass-fed and certified free trade, we’re strangely happy to know that part of our handset is organic, whether we comprehend the specifics or not.
Active-Matrix…hmm. Red pill or blue? Happily, no such life-altering choice lies buried in your AMOLED screen. Active-Matrix simply refers to the technology which tells each little pixel what to do. AMOLED’s counterpart, PMOLED, has no storage capacitor, which leads to bigger power drains and dramatically weakened graphics. In short, Active-Matrix tells the pixels what to do, remembers it and lets your screen run brighter on less power.
Advantages of Amoled Displays
Now that the name’s been worked out – why are they so much better? Battery issues aside, the main advantage of AMOLED screens over their predecessors is that they don’t require or use a back light. With a back-lit screen, you always experience some degree of color fade, simply because the light passing through the screen washes color out. AMOLED screens are composed of pixels which produce their very own light, eliminating the need for a back light and thus producing the ultra-vivid colors we’ve all come to know and love.
Time to review – in the simplest terms, AMOLED displays are made up of thin film transistors and consist of mind-boggling numbers of pixels, all controlled by active matrixing which tells each pixel what to do and when to do it.
If you’re wondering about Super-AMOLED screens, don’t worry; we won’t strain your brain anymore. The “Super” simply refers to touch capabilities being integrated into an AMOLED screen.
AMOLED Displays – The Finer Points
We’ve already covered everything you need to know, without the ultra-techie specs which make our brains hurt. What we’re most concerned about is performance. Thankfully, that’s just what AMOLED and Super-AMOLED screens do best – perform beautifully.
Once upon a time (and currently, if you own an older handset) AMOLED displays were sometimes difficult to view in direct sunlight. This is due to the gaps between TFT layers. Thankfully, many companies are working hard to fix this issue, with Samsung being far ahead of the pack. It’s a relatively simple matter of closing that gap and bringing the layers as close together as possible.
Super-AMOLED Advanced is a term Motorola came up with to describe the screen of their Razr. It refers to brightness and resolution boost. In the past, boosting the brightness of an AMOLED screen led to reduced resolution; Super-AMOLED Advanced claims to have bypassed this technical annoyance.
There you have it, folks – AMOLED demystified. It only took a few minutes, and we’re betting you can win at least a few beers off your friends just by knowing what the letters stand for!
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