Samsung says it will start mass-producing OLED laptop displays with touch sensors built right into the panel next week. The technology will be used in new Galaxy Book models.
The panels do this by using OCTA, which stands for “on-cell touch AMOLED” technology. This lets them be thinner than solutions that use a separate touchscreen panel film. Samsung says that it is the first OLED panel on a laptop that has a touch screen built in.
The panels are expected to come in 13-inch and 16-inch sizes and be able to support 3K resolution and up to 120Hz refresh rates. Until now, they have only been used in smartphones like the Galaxy S series and Apple’s iPhones.
The Korean company didn’t say which laptop would be the first to use the technology, but at its Unpacked media event on February 3, it’s likely to show off updated Galaxy Book laptops with OLED touchscreens. Samsung also wants to make a lot of OLED touchscreen panels for other laptop brands and partners as more makers switch to them.
Since 2017, Samsung has been supplying Apple with OLED displays for high-end iPhone models. Samsung’s latest announcement comes after rumors that Apple is planning to release its first MacBook with an OLED display in the next couple of years, possibly followed by an OLED touchscreen MacBook. Samsung is also said to be putting a high priority on making certain kinds of OLED screens that Apple plans to use in future iPad Pro models.
The first OLED MacBook could come out as early as next year. Kuo didn’t say if the OLED MacBook would be a Pro or Air model, but a display industry analyst named Ross Young said last month that Apple plans to release a 13-inch MacBook Air with an OLED screen in 2024.
All of the current MacBooks have LCD screens, and the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with mini-LED backlighting and ProMotion are the most recent ones. OLED displays, unlike LCDs with mini-LEDs, have pixels that emit light on their own and don’t need backlighting. This would give MacBooks an even better contrast ratio and allow them to last longer on a single charge.
Apple is also working on making Macs with touchscreens. The first one will be a MacBook Pro with an OLED screen, which will come out in 2025. The first MacBook Pro with a touchscreen would still have a trackpad and a keyboard, but the screen would be able to be touched like an iPhone or iPad.
Apple has said for years that adding touchscreens to laptops makes them less comfortable to use, so if the company goes through with the plans, it would be a big change for the company. The release of a touchscreen OLED MacBook could help Apple’s Mac sales, which have been especially good since the switch to Apple silicon. However, Apple faces a tough couple of years ahead because the global economic downturn is causing fewer people to buy consumer electronics.