An organic light-emitting diode or OLED display is a type of display technology based on electroluminescent organic compounds. These organic compounds essentially emit a particular frequency or color of light with the application of an electric current.
On the other hand, an AMOLED stands for active matrix organic light-emitting diode. Hence, an AMOLED display is also an OLED display that uses an active matrix scheme in addressing individual pixels.
An active matrix addressing scheme specifically involves attaching a transistor and capacitor to each individual diode or pixel to maintain the pixel state while addressing other pixels actively.
OLED Display vs. AMOLED Display: What are the Differences?
So what is the difference between OLED and AMOLED? It is important to highlight the fact that an AMOLED display is simply a subtype of OLED display. The other subtype is passive matrix organic light-emitting diode or PMOLED display.
Take note that PMOLED should not be confused with POLED or plastic OLED, which is an OLED display based on plastic substrate rather than a glass substrate. Nevertheless, passive matrix is another addressing scheme based on controlling each row and line of pixels within the display sequentially and one-by-one.
Consumer electronics company Samsung has widely used the term “AMOLED” as part of its marketing strategy to promote its OLED displays, including its products that feature its OLED technology.
Other companies such as Motorola and Google have also used the term “AMOLED” to highlight the fact that their smartphones products are based on active matrix OLED technology. Note that Samsung and Motorola are manufacturers and thus, key suppliers of AMOLED display panels used by other consumer electronics companies.
However, there are companies that simply use the term “OLED” display instead of “AMOLED” display. In addition, Apple has used the term “Super Retina HD” to market its newer generations of iPhone products that feature high-definition AMOLED displays.
The fact that AMOLED is simply a subtype of OLED also means that it has advantages and disadvantages inherent on display technology based on organic light-emitting diode. Of course, the active matrix addressing scheme gives an AMOLED display further advantage than the passive matrix scheme used in PMOLED display.