At CEATEC 2019, we had a good look at the Kyocera / Glo next-gen micro-LED display technology in the form of a 1.8-inch display (0.7mm thick) that reaches an amazing 3000 NITs brightness, according to the company.
For context, the best smartphone OLED displays can top ~1400 (iPhone 11 Pro) to ~1500 NITs (Galaxy Note 10+). Smartwatches have much lower brightness levels. Higher brightness is extremely useful to make screens more readable outdoors in direct sunlight.
At the moment, Kyocera’s Micro-LED displays are prototypes, and it is not clear when they might enter production and hit the market. However, the company says that its technology can scale to ~10-inch screens.
Several companies are working on Micro-LED technology, including Sony and Sharp. Of course, Samsung introduced micro-LED in fanfare and has demonstrated several large-scale TVs and commercial displays, including “The Wall.”
Small and large micro-LED screens run into different problems during development. For small displays, it is difficult to achieve a high pixel density because the technology is relatively young, and the miniaturization process is still underway. For large displays, the pixel boundaries are sometimes visible, giving a mosquito screen effect.
Kyocera’s 1.8-inch has 200 PPI of density, which is more than most 1080p laptops, but still half of what the best smartphone OLED displays can achieve. Older PC monitors had a 75 PPI definition, so 200 PPI is most definitely very usable as-is.
Micro-LED is currently the main technology that could challenge OLED in the future. Like OLED, it is self-emitting, which means that each pixel produces its light, resulting in perfect black. Micro-LED is, by nature, brighter and more resilient to long-term usage than OLED.
However, the color quality of Micro-LED screens we’ve seen isn’t quite where it should be to compete with OLED technology. It’s great to see more competition in this field because it will ensure that Micro-LED displays will get to market faster and at a more affordable price.
Japanese companies have mostly been out of the game with OLED, but Micro-LED offers a chance to come back as a potential leader in the display market.