Samsung Display bought the display company eMagin. Their OLED microdisplays have great potential for VR headsets.
Yesterday, eMagin announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung. The transaction is valued at $218 million.
In a few years, OLED microdisplays could replace the liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found in almost every current VR headset. This new type of VR display is smaller, more energy efficient, and allows for extremely high pixel density and brightness, high contrast, and lifelike colors.
The US company eMagin has developed a special OLED microdisplay that doesn’t use color filters and thus achieves a particularly high luminance. The company calls it a Direct Patterning Display (DPD).
In early May, eMagin demonstrated an OLED microdisplay that achieves 15,000 nits. Combined with a pancake lens, VR headsets could still reach around 1500 nits. For comparison: Meta Quest 2 offers about 100 nits, Playstation VR 2 about 250 nits. Both with classic Fresnel lenses, which absorb relatively little light.
Samsung Display: A good partner for eMagin
The company unveiled a 4K display a year ago, rumored to be co-developed with Valve. Other large companies are also said to have shown interest in the technology.
Since eMagin does not have the capacity to mass-produce OLED microdisplays, Samsung Display is the ideal partner to bring the technology to market.
“By teaming with Samsung Display, we will be able to achieve the full potential of our next-generation microdisplay technology with a partner that can provide the resources and expertise we will need to scale production. Moreover, our customers will benefit from resulting improvements to our production capabilities in terms of yield, efficiency, and quality control,” writes CEO Andrew Sculley.
Samsung could build the advanced displays into future mixed reality headsets, but it could also sell them to other companies like Meta and Apple, which are also active in the field.