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Optoelectronics/Displays??

LCD joint venture to set off small-medium size panel war

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:small-medium size panel? panel market? image resolution?

According to WitsView, a research unit of TrendForce Corp., the joint venture formed by Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi boasts a forceful set of capital, technology, patents and manufacturing processes. However, despite the companies' solid technological base, the noise that Japan Display will be making will not target large panel firms, but the highly unpredictable small to medium panel market, currently dominated by makers in Korea and Taiwan.

Japanese makers are now re-entering the panel manufacturing arena by relying on both AMOLED and LTPS technologies. WitsView stated that Samsung Mobile Display currently leads the AMOLED market, but with this technology being made available soon, competition is expected. In contrast, there is a growing demand for high-resolution products from small to medium panels makers. The reliance on LTPS production process that could be up to 400 DPI is growing bigger than that on traditional A-Si. This shifting reliance is the key point from which Japanese makers aim at winning the panel making competition within the next one or two years.

Japanese firms join forces
In a move to fend off the growing competition from its South Korean and Taiwan rivals, Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba, together with Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, are joining forces to integrate their small- and medium-sized display businesses. Read more about the LCD business merger.

Eric Chiou, research director of WitsView, has observed that small to medium panels with higher image resolution are expected. These panels are beneficial for both supply and demand, thus enhancing the product development trend. On the demand side, panels with higher image resolution could help substantiate experiences of HD mobile devices and help establish market penetration into e-book reader, providing entry into the promising education market. On the supply side, HD panels involve higher level equipment technology and investment, thus raising the entry threshold than that for producing large panels. For those panel makers with an upper hand in technology, they could outperform competitors by producing small to medium panels with high image resolution and re-establish market order in the volatile panel making industry.

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As for tablet PCs, image resolution ranges from 130-170 DPI either for 9.7in Apple iPad with 70 percent market share or other 7in and 10in products. iPad is likely to follow the footsteps of iPhone, which was upgraded from 3GS to iPhone 4G with a boost to the resolution of 264 DPI. This increase will no doubt trigger the competition on panel resolution with other panel makers, said WitsView. The company added that overall tablet market will still be dominated by products with 100-200 DPI resolution, with a market share of 96 percent. With new products entering the market on 1H12, products with DPI resolution ranging from 200-300 are expected to grow to about 60 percent in 2012, establishing their status as mainstream products. Following this trend, in 2014, tablets with 200 DPI resolution and above normal standards will account for 97 percent of the market share.

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