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OLED cellphone displays top 178M by 2015

Posted: 24 Sep 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OLED? AMOLED? cellphone display?

Triggered by the introduction of many cellphone models equipped with main displays using active matrix OLED (AMOLED) technology, the global market for such screens is set to explode in the coming years, according to iSuppli Corp.

Shipments of OLED displays for the main screens of cellphones are expected to rise by a factor of eight from 2009 to 2015. Global shipments of OLED cellphone displays will rise to 178 million units in 2015, up from 22.2 million in 2009.

"AMOLEDs deliver superior-quality images compared to conventional LCDs, especially in terms of contrast and response times," said Vinita Jakhanwal, principal analyst, small/medium displays, for iSuppli. "They also consume less power, extending battery life. With smart phones increasingly being used by consumers as their primary Internet-access devices, the ubiquity and extended operation times yielded by AMOLEDs make them an attractive choice for such cellphones."

Despite this growth, OLEDs will still only account for a small percentage of total main mobile-handset displays in the coming years, rising to 6 percent of total unit shipments in 2013, up from 2 percent in 2009. The only factors limiting greater penetration is the fact that the AMOLED market has only a couple of suppliers and a limited number of factories.

Nokia's new N85 represents the new breed of handsets with relatively large OLED primary displays arriving in the market. The N85 sports a 2.6-inch diagonal AMOLED with a pixel format of 240 by 320. An iSuppli teardown of the N85 estimates the cost of the AMOLED at $7.05, compared to $6.50 for an LCD of equivalent size and resolution.

Other new phones equipped with AMOLED main displays include Samsung's Impression and i8000 Omnia II.

Global shipment of OLEDs for use as main displays in cellphones

Passive growth
While some cellphones with OLEDs have been introduced in the past, Jakhanwal said these mainly have taken the form of displays passive matrix OLED (PMOLED) technology and work as secondary screens, due to the inherent size and resolution limitations of PMOLED displays. Pixel formats of QVGA, wQVGA and higher can be achieved in AMOLEDs, making them suitable for larger main displays in mobile phones, Jakhanwal added, and recent price reductions as well as yield improvements have made AMOLEDs economical in this application. Because of this, main cellphone displays will surpass secondary screens as the highest-volume application for OLEDs starting in 2010, and will maintain their lead through 2015.

Compared to the overall market dominated by LCD technology, OLEDs for main cellphone displays represent an attractive growth opportunity. Global unit shipments of OLEDs for the main displays of cellphones will rise at a 41.4 percent CAGR from 2009 to 2015, compared to 8 percent for 2009 to 2013 for all types of displays for handsets.

In addition to their use in smart phones, AMOLEDs can find strong acceptance as 2.2-inch to 2.6-inch QVGA main displays for conventional cellphones, especially if volumes and prices comparable to LCDs can be obtained.

And beyond the other allures offered by OLED, the technology is more environmentally sustainable compared to that of conventional LCDs.

"OLEDs offer a low-power-consumption solution to FPDs, especially when compared to LCDs, without compromising picture quality," Jakhanwal noted. "OLEDs also have fewer sub-components and contain no mercury or other heavy metals that require special handling, making them easier to recycle."

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