Tag: amoled

AMOLED now cheaper than LCD

amoled-vs-lcdWhile optics experts have been singing the praises of AMOLED technology over LCD for a while now, the only thing that has been holding it back was the production costs.

According to IHS Technology it has only taken 24 months for AMOLED production costs to fall below that of LCD. Production costs in the first quarter for a five inch Full HD smartphone display are $14.30 for an AMOLED panel and $14.60 for an LCD display.

These figures are based on production costs of a  Low Temperature Poly-Silicon Liquid Crystal Display LTPS LCD which is the most efficient type of Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD. While there is no data available on the production cost of QHD displays, Full HD is still the standard display definition for the vast majority of smartphone screens.

With AMOLED production costs dropping below LCD for the first time, AMOLED panels will soon become the default display technology choice for manufacturers on their mid-range and entry-level devices as well. While this may not directly signal the end for LCD screens in the smartphone space.

It might be that now that they are so cheap Apple might install them on its iPhone, charge an arm and leg for it claiming it invented it.

34 million smartwatch displays to ship

WatchA market research company said that smartwatch display units will grow by 250 percent this year with 34 million units shippings.

That’s largely because of the publicity and demand for Apple’s iWatch, said IHS.

But the manufacturers are being cautious about over supplying units, the report said. For example, it said that smartwatch display shipments will fall to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter of this year.

The majority of display panels shipped this year will use AMOLED technology. That’s because both Apple and Samsung use this technology.

Out of the AMOLED watch panels shipped, Apple is expected to consume 84 percent of the shipments.

Analyst Hiroshi Hayase at IHS said: “The display market is carefully watching consumer response to products in the smartwatch category.”

Flexible OLED panels still too expensive

SamsungRigid LCD screens won’t be a thing of the past unless the makers of flexible panels get more price competitive.

The manufacturers of organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels are looking to make more flexible active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) panels, according to a report from research company IHS.

We don’t have to spell out all the words in AMOLED again, but the leaders in manufacturing these flexible panels are Korean giants Samsung and LG Display.

Those two manufacturers are ramping up production of flexible panels this year and IHS thinks flexible shipments are set to grow exponentially.

The reason why flexible panels seem to be the order of the day is because IHS believes wearable and other form factors need them.

But the snag is that smartphone makers – presumably other than Samsung and LG – find AMOLED panels to be a little too expensive for their purposes.

Principal analyst Jerry Kang at IHS, said: “Smartphone makers were unhappy with the price of AMOLED panels, because higher priced performance AMOLED displays had lower sharpness than LTPS LCD displays with the same resolution. As the wide colour gamut of AMOLED displays has not been a major differentiation factor in the smartphone panel market, current AMOLED panels will eventually lose their appeal, unless prices decline further.”

11 arrested at Samsung mobile display division

Samsung has revealed that 11 of its employees in its Mobile Display unit have been selling technology to a rival company.

The 11 have been arrested and charged with the theft and sale of AMOLED display technology under development at Samsung.

According to the Yonhap News Agency they were making some good money for their leaks. One researcher is believed to have accepted a payment of nearly $170,000 from an unnamed “local rival firm” in exchange for trade secrets.

That worker was deeply involved with the development of the technology but was annoyed when he failed to get a promotion he wanted.

According to the police, he unsuccessfully attempted to sell the information to another Chinese display manufacturer at that time. It is not clear what the other 10 people did.

The technology was fairly crucial because Samsung is hoping to take the lead in the emerging AMOLED TV market, which could be worth as much as $80 billion. 

Panel market to bounce back in 2013

Industry watchers at NPD Displaysearch claim that, despite all the doom and gloom poised for the panel market – not helped by a predicted economic nosedive into a second recession – long term, there should be “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Although flat panel display manufacturers have lost heaps of money for the past six quarters, and the market is in the middle of its longest ever downturn, most players have frozen almost all expansion plans for LCD TV fabs, according to NPD. Lower prices are increasing demand, especially for large screen TVs. Thanks to those factors, the industry is slowly beginning to sort itself out and is approaching something resembling balance.

2013 should become a turning point. The oversupply should drop under 10 percent for the first time since 2010, NPD says, which should lead to improved panel pricing, better profits, and an increase in investment.

For now, though, the equipment market will really have to tighten its collective belt. NPD believes that this segment is in line for a “severe recession” in 2012, taking a substantial hit to the tune of 63 percent from 2011. Thanks to AMOLED production lines, this should bounce back somewhat in 2013.

IGZO based LCDs, too, are expected to give a boost to the market. Mass production began in the fourth quarter of 2011. Although at first IGZO LCDs will find their home in LCD tablet and Ultrabook displays, eventually they will become more widespread in high resolution large LCD TVs and in some AMOLEDs.

Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba team up with goverment cash

Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba have agreed to team up to pit their combined might against Samsung in the LCD panel market.

Backed by a Japanese government fund the three amigos will attempt to fight back against competition from Korea and Taiwan in the panel business.

All three firms have been languishing in a panel market where they are unable to scrape a profit as both the TV and PC monitor markets hit the rocks.  In fact it has been rumoured for a while now that some drastic action would be taken in order to mount a challenge in the panel industry.

Now the companies will spin off their panel businesses to create Japan Display K.K. by early next year according to Bloomberg.

Innovation Network Corp of Japan, an organisation backed by the government, will account for 70 percent of the new venture having thrown $2.6 billion into the kitty.  Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi will share the remaining 30 percent.

It is expected that the venture will create the largest manufacturer of small scale such as that for smarthphones or and tablets.

And with the LCD TV market in a replacement cyclei in developed nations, and PC sales floundering, it seems that the small screen market is a safer bet for the largely public owned company.

New production lines will now come on line using INCJ cash, with external managers expected to arrive.  The three firms will also appoint directors to the board.

Meanwhile another Japanese firm in the panel business, Sharp, which is to see investment from Apple, is expecting to see its own profits shoot up as it capitalises on the boom in smaller screens.

Sony is expected to focus more on its sensor business for digital cameras and smartphones after spinning off its small panel business. This will involve double its spending on capacity.

The panel business has been seeing much upheaval recently, with LG Display among those thought to be cutting spending on panel capacity. Samsung itself denied that such a move would be occurring however.

Samsung is also looking away from LCD and towards AMOLED technology in a bid to stay ahead of its competitors in the panel market.

Samsung readies AMOLED monopoly

AMOLED displays have received a boost from Samsung’s 5.5G fab, sparking expectations for substantial fab growth in the next few years.

But as the technology grows in popularity rival firms will have some catching up to do if they are going to offer an alternate supply to the Korean giant.

Currently Samsung has a stranglehold on the display technology which could give LCD a run for its money if it can gain popularity.

Following the ramping up of Samsung Mobile Display’s 5.5G fab there are expectations that it will reach its maximum capacity of 80,000 substrates per month by the end of the first quarter in 2012, says a DisplaySearch report.

This increase in capacity is, in turn, expected to drive further growth of AMOLED capacity from 890,000 m2 this year to 2.6 million m2 next year.   Capacity is then forecast to double again in the following year.

Though there have been announcements from LG Display for forthcoming large screen AMOLED, Samsung currently accounts for nearly all commercial shipments.  Furthermore there are likely to be further expansions in the future with as interest in the display type increases.

This means that the firm, which has been selling bucketloads of its Galaxy SII handsets with AMOLED display, is likely to stay at the forefront of the market.  Bad news for rivals if they don’t want to rely on a competitor for a supply of the displays.

Apparently there are plans for other companies to begin commercial production of AMOLED displays.   AUO, LG Display and Chimei Innolux all expected to bring AMOLED fabs to pilot mass production in the next couple of years, and others are said to be looking at entering the market.

Though most are looking at AMOLED displays for small or medium display production, such as for smartphones and tablets, there are plans to move towards 8G plants for large screen next year.

And with LCD panel makers notching up net profit losses for four quarters in a row, AMOLED displays will be a “bright spot” for the flat panel display market.

This means that the burgeoning technology could finally start to make more of an impact on LCD sales as prices come down and it stops being a niche product.

But as display analysts Meko have told us, Samsung is so far ahead of the competition there is a danger of edging others out of the market.

So if others can challenge a Samsung monopoly it could be good news for customers.

If not then it could be that Samsung can withhold tight control over the market, which would be bad news for consumers while others struggle to catch up.

According to Goksen Sertler at Meko Samsung would benefit.

“Obviously if one company has monopoly in a technology this is a good opportunity to keep profit margins high,” Sertler told us.

“This would mean relatively higher street prices for end users. However when other players arrive they would cut costs of panels and street prices would then ease.”

This will be eased by other firms in Korea and in China starting trial production, though there is a long way to catch up with Samsung.

“Other companies have already started their pilot production or even some mass production.
There are some firms which have already invested in OLED technology. Back in February 2011, LG Display was reported to have started AMOLED panel production at its 4.5G plant,” Sertler said.

“Clearly Korean panel manufacturers are ahead of the game in OLED production. AUO originally had announced it will complete work on its first OLED mass production line in the first half of 2011. However it was forced to delay AMOLED production at its 3.5 G plant due to technical
difficulties.

“These are only a few of the players are in the AMOLED production and they will start to mass production eventually.”

 Sertler continued: “AMOLED investment is dramatically important especially for non-Chinese panel makers. LCD panel business have started to swing towards China and away from Korea. Therefore Korean makers have to find new technology to stay ahead in the business.”
 

 

AMOLED Manufacturing Capacity:

Samsung partners with Universal Display

Samsung Mobile Display, which is Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, says it’s had that golden handshake with US-based, Nasdaq listed Universal Display Corp. AMOLED display is the goal.

Samsung really wants to get in on AMOLED first. It believes the partnership with Universal Display will send it on its merry way to trounce other display manufacturers with similarly lofty goals.

The South Korean lot reckon the partnership will really help drive progress in AMOLED.

Marketwatch reports that Universal Display has a range of patents for OLED panels, including relating to materials which can increase both brightness and energy efficiency. It has patents on the phosphorescent materials you need in the panels. 

As AMOLED is touted to be the next big thing, edging in on LCD territory, Samsung must think Universal has enough in its roster to make the strategic alliance a goer.

Together, Samsung said in a statement, the two have developed advanced AMOLED materials. 

Mobile manufacturers eye up AMOLED

AMOLED displays are growing in popularity as mobile manufacturers look for an iPhone beater.

According to industry sources close to Digitimes, more smartphone brands will implement the display that has, so far, been mostly the sole plaything of Samsung.

Samsung Mobile Display, which has already been mucking about with a flexible display at CES, holds a huge 98.3 percent share of the AMOLED market. But with the Hitachi, Toshiba and Sony merger rumoured to be on the cards, Samsung’s place in mobile display overall will face stiff competition.

In the second half of 2011 we can expect a shift towards AMOLED panels, thanks to top end features like its high brightness.

As display analysts at Meko told us a while back, there are concerns over the cost of the panels, and this has continued to linger on with industry sources still wary of the price tag.

But with Samsung finally getting its 5.5G  production up and running we could see the prices coming down.

Aside from tablets, which seem to be too large for AMOLED display for anyone without a footballer’s salary at this point, smartphones are one of the most popular ways for consumers to splash the cash.

Samsung’s AMOLED-ready Galaxy SII has, for instance, shipped three million handsets in just 55 days, so there is no shortage for demand.

Of course, how happy the Korean firm’s rivals will be over their reliance in acquiring the technology from Samsung could be a problem.

However, according to panel expert at Meko Bob Raikes, while AMOLED displays offer distinct advantages over LCD in certain areas, there are significant hurdles in actually getting the technology widely available.

“AMOLED has a clear advantage for anyone making a mobile handset in that it has a fantastic video performance,” he told TechEye. “And with people increasingly wanting to watch video from their phone it beats LCD in that respect.”

However, the main problem for AMOLED is the continuity of supply.

“Mobile makers don’t want to run out when they are looking to sell tens of millions of units, and while there are 20 or 30 LCD suppliers, it is a problem for the AMOLED market,” Raikes continues. “Samsung are so far ahead in the development of the panels that there is no second source of supply, making it very difficult for companies to guarantee a supply.”

Although both Samsung and LG will be seeing their AMOLED fabs increase productivity throughout the year, Raikes believes that there are significant concerns over a small supply: “A lot of firms will be very nervous about having one of their rivals as the main source of supply.

“For example, it is hard to imagine that Apple would be willing to hand over its design for a new iPhone to Samsung for AMOLED displays considering the court case between the two.

“So while there is likely to be an increase as Samsung and LG factories increase productivity over the year, it is going to be just a drop in the ocean compared to LCD.”

Prices rise for handset displays

Market research outfit Displaysearch claims prices are rising for higher resolution touchscreen displays as punters are increasingly prepared to pay more and buy a smartphone. Total shipments of displays rose six percent in last year’s third quarter from the second quarter, whilst revenue for displays with higher resolutions rose 13 percent.

According to Displaysearch, revenues outpaced shipments for the third consecutive quarter.Demand for smartphone displays managed to offset falling average selling prices (ASP). The ASP for mobile phone screens went up four percent year over year, heading to $8.19.

Mobile phone bigwigs Samsung and Nokia apparently seem to carry part of the blame, as both companies have been churning out handsets featuring AMOLED displays. Displaysearch says shipments of such screens totalled 13.5 million units, an increase of 132 compared to 2009 and 65 percent to the second quarter of 2010. Samsung Mobile Display had a stonking share of 98.3 percent in the AMOLED mobile panel market.

DisplaySearch Phone Display ASP

Broken down by resolution, HVGA displays (320×480) had a share of 22 percent of demandm whereas WVGA (400×800 and 400×864) rose from a5.3 percent in the second quarter to 8% in the third. DVGA (640×960) resolution displays, as used in the ever so popular iPhone, hopped up quarter over quarter to 3.2 percent from 1.9 percent.

Nonetheless, bog average a-Si TFT displays still account for 60 percent share of all mobile phone display shipments, whereas LTPS TFT LCDs came second place with a 22.5% market share.