Will MicroLED Replace OLED

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Since Apple announced its intention to use microLED technology in its Apple Watch to improve energy efficiency and extend battery life, there have been many discussions on whether microLED will replace OLED display.

MicroLED is a cutting-edge display technology that utilizes tiny light-emitting diode chips to create individual pixels. Similar to OLED, microLED is an emissive display, meaning that each pixel emits its own light, eliminating the need for a backlight. This results in perfect black levels, vivid colors, and exceptional off-angle viewing.

Compared to OLED, microLED technology delivers brighter displays with superior contrast while being more resistant to burn-in, thanks to its use of inorganic materials.

Currently, microLED production is more complex and expensive compared to OLED, making mass production and cost reduction critical obstacles for broader adoption.

OLED has gained significant market adoption, with major manufacturers investing heavily in OLED production lines. This existing infrastructure could be a barrier for microLED to replace OLED.

Manufacturers Working on MicroLED Display

Here are various manufacturers of MicroLED displays which have been working on this technology intensively:


According to the Nikkei Asia report, Apple intends to produce its own microLED displays to support its iPhones. This will reduce its reliance on Samsung for its displays.

It has invested in a Taiwan-based factory and will partner with AMS-Osram for the microLED components. The company will use TSMC’s 12-inch wafers and get the substrates from LG Display. This move will increase its own control over the whole supply chain.

Apple plans to roll out the microLED technology with the Apple Watch Ultra, before implementing it on its iPhones.

2)LG Display

LG Display is building a small production line that will make microLED backplanes for Apple. The line will begin operation in the second half of 2024.

Since 2022, LG Display has started developing microLED display technologies and Meta/Facebook has also been in talks with them to supply them the displays.

3)AU Optronics (AUO)

AUO has built up a comprehensive supply chain and Micro LED ecosystem. It has successfully overcome design and process hurdles to release the world’s highest-resolution 13.5-inch Transparent Micro LED display.

The display has a pixel density of 163 ppi, a transparency rate of up to 55%, and a high brightness of 5,000 nits, this provides users with high-definition displays infused with a high-tech flavor.

The company targeting to start producing wearable microLED displays and has signed a deal with Tag Heuer to supply it with smartwatch displays.


In 2016, Meta/Oculus acquired InfiniLED to enter the microLED display market. Recently, the company also entered a research partnership with Ireland-based Tyndall National Institute to work on AR technologies, including microLED displays.

However, in July 2023 Meta decided to abandon Plessey’s microLED tech which they invested in 2020, in favor of an older display technology, liquid crystal on silicon or LCoS. The decision could be due to technological or cost-saving reasons.

This shows that microLED displays still have many challenges to deal with, and it is not going to replace OLED so soon.


Sony is one of the leading consumer electronics companies in the world and they introduced a 55″ microLED TV in 2012, which they termed as Crystal-LED.

In 2016, Sony again launched a large-area outdoor microLED display called Canvas Display (CLEDIS) and has been installing several of them.

6)PRP Optoelectronics

This UK-based company produces monolithic Micro-LED microdisplays for both standard and custom display types. It has established itself as a manufacturer of top-quality optoelectronic avionic displays for the defense industry.

You can find their display products in cockpits around the world and across a variety of platforms, including the F-16, F-22, and Eurofighter.

7)Plessey Semiconductor

Plessey Semiconductor is a UK-based company that develops GaN-On-Silicon MicroLED microdisplay technology. This technology is recognized as one of the leading technology platforms capable of addressing all the challenges involved with manufacturing microLED displays in high volumes cost-effectively.

In 2020, Meta/Facebook strike a deal with Plessey to help them prototype and develop new technologies for potential use in the AR/VR space for the next several years.

8)BOE Technology

BOE has been involved in microLED since 2017 and it can offer displays and backlight solutions. In 2022, the company become the largest shareholder in HC Semiteck, a major Chinese LED chip supplier which ranks fourth place in the chip supply chain (data from TrendForce).

Recently, BOE participate in the display week in Los Angeles, showing a 110″ 16K microLED monitor. It has a 15,360 by 8,640 resolution, for a total of 133 million pixels.


PlayNitride is a Taiwan-based company, which was established in June 2014 to research and develop Nitride related materials and applications. It is now focusing on GaN-based MicroLEDs and is collaborating with many companies, including AU Optronics, Samsung, and RiTDisplay.

Recently, the company demonstrated a wide range of microLED displays and prototypes at Display Week 2023 – including transparent displays, wearable panels, tiled displays, AR microdisplays, and more.


Visionox successfully built 1.84″ wearable microLED display samples in 2022 at its China factory. The company also has its microLED pilot line built in 2021 and it can produce complete displays, from driver backplane, through the transfer process to full module production.

As for the microLED chips, they are getting from a third-party source.


VueReal is in the business of manufacturing MicroLEDs for displays. The company is using advanced technologies to overcome many challenges that currently exist in making micro-LED mainstream.

VueReal and ASM Pacific Technologies (ASMPT) have agreed to integrate VueReal’s cartridge mass transfer solution into ASMPT’s industry-leading mass transfer bonding solution for microLED display applications.

This will allow their customers to achieve 99.99+% transfer yields on LEDs smaller than 10 micrometers, which will enable microLED to become competitive with existing display technologies.

12)X Display Company (XDC)

X Display Company is a leading technology developer and licensor of advanced assembly and displays solutions. The company supplies components like microLEDs, microICs, and PixelEngines. It also sells Micro Transfer Printing Equipment that can power next-generation displays.

The company has funding from LED Videowall and signage company Daktronics and several global strategic partners to support their technology and commercialize their products and solutions.


MicroLEDs use inorganic materials such as Gallium Nitrate (GaN) which are self-emitting. It operates on the gallium nitride principle, which delivers extraordinary brightness, even more than an OLED display. 

Devices that use microLED provide 30 times higher brightness and invincible efficiency than conventional OLED displays. It is extensively compact in size with excellent viewing angles. The unit is smaller than 100 micrometers in size. 

There are numerous benefits of MicroLED: 

  • High luminous efficiency
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Less power consumption
  • Wider viewing angle
  • Long life
  • Shorter response time
  • Higher resolution
  • Curved/flexible backplanes
Display TypeEmissiveEmissive
Response TimeVery High (micro sec)High (micro min)
Power EfficiencyHighMedium
Only Lit Pixels draw powerYesYes
Sunlight VisibilityHighMedium
Operating Temperature-100 to 120 degC-30 to 70 degC
Need for EncapsulationNoYes
BrightnessHighLow – Medium
FlexibilityMedium – HighHigh
Viewing AnglesHighHigh
Tech MaturityLowMedium – High

Market Size for MicroLED

According to Mordor Intelligence™ Industry Reports, MicroLED Market size is forecast to grow from US$ 1 billion in 2023 to US$ 21 billion by 2028. 

Growing demand for different applications around the world has had a direct impact on the growth of the Micro LED Display.

The CAGR from 2023 to 2028 is 82.19%, with the fastest-growing market in North America and the largest market in Asia Pacific

Research consultancy Yole Dévelopement also forecasts the microLED market could reach up to 330 million units by 2025.

The rising growth of consumer technology coupled with the arising of MEMS technology is further boosting the growth of the market studied.

Allied Market Research Report is projecting the Smartwatch segment as one of the lucrative segments to focus on:

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Applications Which Suitable To Use MicroLED

MicroLED can be used in many types of applications. The following list is some of them but more can be included:

  • VR/AR headsets (VR headsets could be leading the global microLED displays demand)
  • HUD
  • smartwatches
  • smartphones
  • 8K UHD TV
  • laptops/tablets
  • display wall
  • digital signage

MicroLEDs are ideal for small form factor products such as head-mounted displays, making VR and AR a major application opportunity.

The vision for MicroLEDs could mean the transformation from a typical bulky and power-hungry VR headset to something more akin to a pair of glasses.

Alternatively, it could mean charging every month rather than every two days for a product in which the display is largely responsible for most of the power consumption.


Based on what we have gathered so far from various sources, it is reasonable to conclude that MicroLED is not likely to replace OLED entirely in the near future.

While MicroLED displays offer several advantages, such as high brightness, potential for longer lifespan, and absence of burn-in concerns, OLED technology has already achieved significant market adoption and has established itself as a reliable and widely used display technology in various consumer electronics, including smartphones, TVs, and wearables.

MicroLED is still in the early stages of commercialization, and its manufacturing complexity and costs remain significant barriers to widespread adoption. OLED displays have a well-established infrastructure and production lines, making them more readily available and affordable to consumers.

Furthermore, OLED’s flexible form factor and proven picture quality, including deep blacks and wide color gamut, continue to make it a preferred choice for applications like smartphones and curved TVs.

While MicroLED may find its niche in specific high-end applications and large-scale displays, it is unlikely to replace OLED entirely, and the two technologies are more likely to coexist, with each serving different use cases and market segments.

As technology continues to advance and production processes improve, MicroLED displays may become more accessible and affordable, potentially gaining a larger market share in the future. However, at this stage, OLED remains a dominant and established technology that is unlikely to be fully replaced by MicroLED anytime soon.


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