Samsung’s high-end TVs feature microLED, a display technology that is even superior to OLED. It sounds like future versions of the company's Galaxy Watch smartwatch could be getting in on the act as well.
That's based on a report from Sammobile (opens in new tab), which claims that Samsung could bring microLED displays to its wearable line-up in the “near future” and that Samsung Display established a team to work on this technology toward the end of last year. They apparently hope to complete the development of the tech by the end of 2023.
That would likely mean the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, expected later this year, would continue to use OLED for its display. But if the timeline is correct, we could see a microLED screen as soon as Galaxy Watch 7 in 2024.
News of Samsung's apparent interest in microOLED comes days after Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (opens in new tab) reported that Apple could switch to microLED displays for its Apple Watch Ultra for future versions of that high-end smartwatch.
Apple apparently plans to make the displays in-house which could possibly even lower prices of the Apple Watch Ultra. The iPhone maker currently uses OLED panels from Samsung for its watches. By making its own microLED displays for wearables, Samsung Display could hope that it retains Apple as its customer, but we will have to see how that plays out in the future.
MicroLED displays for wearables
OLED has been powering some of the best TVs, high-end phones and even wearables like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the Apple Watch 8 and the premium Apple Watch Ultra. But it might be time for the world to move to a superior display technology — microLED which has several upgrades over OLED, especially for wearables.
MicroLED is much brighter, while offering a better contrast ratio and color reproduction. Most importantly, its visibility is much better under direct sunlight than an OLED display — something that is imperative for smartwatches.
According to Gurman, people who have seen prototypes of the microLED smartwatch displays say that they “make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass.”
Smartwatches also suffer from limited battery life, with some watches requiring nightly charges. MicroLED is more power efficient than OLED, which could be another game changer for smartwatches, since it is brighter and yet will not draw as much power.
MicroLED will be a big step up from OLED for Samsung’s Galaxy Watches. If Samsung Display does manage to beat Apple to the punch in getting the technology ready, it could meet the demand for both, Apple and Samsung.
Apple seems to have bigger plans for using microLED. According to the Bloomberg report, the tech giant plans to use a microLED display in its highest-end Apple Watches and then eventually move on to other devices, including the iPhone.
Samsung could follow in Apple's lead in this regard and we will have to see if we could see microLED displays on Samsung's flagship Galaxy S series in the next few years.
Apple could also bring the technology only in 2024 which means the best smartwatches next year are in for a solid upgrade.