|AMOLED supply chain gradually emerges|
Rebecca Kuo, Taipei; Alex Wolfgram, DIGITIMES [Monday 2 April 2012]
AMOLED technology has gotten a head start in smartphone panels and is gradually moving toward tablet PC applications. It has also been used in TV applications since 2012 and is seeing its penetration rate continue to improve along with potential supply chain vendors gradually emerging.
Samsung Electronics, Nokia, HTC and other brands are adopting AMOLED and with the technology entering the mobile phone market at a rapid speed, it is estimated that terminal sales in 2012 are expected to grow exponentially. Samsung is continuing to play the leading role in the AMOLED mobile phone market, and is estimated to launch a series of diverse models with increased pixel amounts of over 250ppi.
Aside from smartphone applications, AMOLED applications on tablet PCs are receiving a lot of attention. Aside from Samsung, Japanese manufacturers have also displayed OLED tablet PCs at the 2012 CES exhibition. While OLED tablet PCs are still in their infant stage of development, they are sure to be the next wave of technology in the future.
TV manufacturers such as LG Electronics plan to launch AMOLED TVs, and with AMOLED panel production capacity to gradually increase between 2013 and 2014, AMOLED TV penetration will begin to gradually increase with an estimated penetration rate of about 10-15% in 2015. In 2013, the price gap of AMOLED TVs and LCD TVs will be about 30%, which will help further increase the penetration rate.
Panel makers are also looking more at AMOLED follow-up trends and development, but Samsung's AMOLED production and technological layout still has a strong lead. Panel makers in Japan, Taiwan, and China have already been speeding up AMOLED development. Aside from cooperating with Japan's Idemitsu Kosan to develop upstream material, Taiwan's AU Optronics (AUO) has also formed an alliance with Sony. AUO will first introduce AMOLED smartphone panels in the first half of 2012, while in the second half it is expected to launch large-size AMOLED TV panels. As for Chimei Innolux (CMI), it has received authorization from IDT and is estimated that it will start shipping AMOLED smartphone panels in the second half of 2012.
Chinese firms such as Visionox, Tianma and Irico have all invested in AMOLED production lines while COST has established 4.5G experimental lines, which shows that Chinese firms are also active in developing AMOLED.
Although firms are generally optimistic about the development of AMOLED, Taiwanese manufacturers are at a loss due to lack of upstream materials and equipment. But firms such as AUO, CMI, and Wintek are actively developing AMOLED panels. Capacitive touch panels suppliers, such as CPT, HannStar Display, TPK, Wintek and Sintek, are also developing touch applications AMOLED panels.
AUO estimates that in 2012 AMOLED will make up only 1-2% of its revenues. But when the AUO L3D and L4B production capacity is gradually opened, it is estimated that AMOLED will account for 5-10% of AUO's overall revenues in 2013.