Smartphones and tablets drive small and medium sized LCD TFTs growth

Rising sales of smartphones and tablet PCs in 2010 will contribute to the growth of small and medium sized TFT LCD panels and enable it to expand at its fastest pace in years, according to analyst outfit iSuppli.

TFT LCD panels are set to rise by 28.1 percent in 2010 to 2.3 billion units, up 28.1 percent from 1.8 billion in 2009. iSuppli reckons this will represent the highest level of growth for the market since 2007, when shipments rose by 49.8 percent.

The figures below represent iSuppli’s forecast of global shipments of small and medium TFT LCD panels. iSuppli defines small/medium displays as those having a diagonal dimension of less than 10 inches.

Vinita Jakhanwal, director, small and medium displays at iSuppli, said: “Sales of smart phones and tablets are booming in 2010 courtesy of the iPhone, the iPad and a range of competing products.

“Because such devices focus on delivering a high-quality user experience, many are employing TFT-LCD displays that offer bright, sharp images—a move that represents a boon for the suppliers of these displays.”

It’s predicted that global smart phone shipments are set to rise by 35.5 percent in 2010, while tablet PC shipments will grow by a huge 787.3 percent. These will be driven, says iSuppli, “almost entirely by Apple’s iPad.”

Smartphone outlets had also been inspired by the iPhone 4 and are now adopting TFT LCDs using In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. IPS supports a wider viewing angle and better picture quality in terms of presentation of colour than a conventional LCD. It also consumes less electricity.

TFT-LCD suppliers now are making alliances or developing their own technology so that they can offer IPS displays to their smart phone and tablet customers.

The competing advanced display technology known as the Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED)  is experiencing rapid growth in the small/medium display market. AMOLEDs are expanding because of the rise of  Android.

TFT LCD shipments will slow in 2011 and beyond as the expansion of the smartphone and tablet markets cools to more normal levels.