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Display flexes technology muscles for next-gen devices

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flexible displays? consumer electronics? IHS?

Consumer electronics, like many other innovations, will see incremental improvements in image quality and steady price declines in the years to come. And based on the appearances of Samsung Galaxy Round and Note Edge, as well as the LG G-Flex, analysts say next-generation devices will have surprises in store for everyone.

According to IHS analysts Brian Bae and Duke Yi, manufacturers will put more work to making great strides in the technology department as personal electronics gain wider recognition.

Brian Bae

Bae: Smartphones and other mobile applications will be the first target products for the flexible display.

"Flexible displays have already shown some achievement so far as in the Galaxy Round, the G-Flex, and the Galaxy Note Edge," said Bae, manager of Emerging Display Technologies at IHS. "Smartphones and other mobile applications will be the first target products for the flexible display to be applied to."

The IHS report last year on flexible displays forecasts that the flexible displays market would reach revenue of $1.3 billion in 2016, and then exponentially grow to $67.7 billion by 2023. This will account for about one-fifth, or 20 per cent, of the entire flat display market. Also in 2016, shipments of flexible displays will amount to 24 million units, and this is expected to reach 1.8 billion units by 2023. This will make up about one-fourth, or 25 per cent, of the total flat display market.

These figures, however, are too optimistic for MarketsandMarkets. In its report, the market research firm said the global flexible display market sees a high CAGR from 2014 to 2020, but it will only reach $3.89 billion by the end of the decade.

IHS predicts that the flexible display market will grow to around $24 billion by 2020 (see chart below), which is six times bigger than MarketsandMarkets' calculation.

Flexible display market

Flexible display market forecast (Source: IHS)

Regardless of the numbers, NPD DisplaySearch analyst Charles Annis believes flexible display will likely continue to grow in share but he is rather doubtful whether the technology will become mainstream in five years.

"Samsung hopes so, but current processes for flexible are struggling to reach competitive yields," he said.

On the contrary, the IHS report claims that "the flexible display market not only replace the existing display market but also create markets for new kinds of display applications," which will drive the growth of display market. The study predicts that the substitute market will reach $900 million in 2016 and $32.8 billion by 2023, while the new market will amount to $400 million in 2016 and climb to $34.9 billion by 2023.

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