|Samsung Electronics will focus on enhancing LCD TV technologies with materials for better picture quality given the relevant infrastructure it owns, The said the CEO of Merck Korea.|
"It seems to be that Samsung Electronics is focusing on developing their existing technology. There's a great gap in competition by using the technology they already have, making small changes," Merck Korea CEO Michael Grund said.
"We make a material but to understand how that material performs, you have to make an application, to create production that makes sense economically, and to make a product in that way for lifetime. How to make mass production is a different story," Grund said.
The executive said OLED display technology is still new and expects products with OLED displays, specifically those with larger displays, to appeal to the affluent, not the masses.
"The most interesting part of OLED is not to compete in areas where LCD is by today. OLED is flexible by nature and that means OLEDs will be highlighted when they are put in home entertainment devices, architecture, mirrors and vehicles not just for TVs," said the executive.
Although market leader Samsung Electronics is still hesitant to jump into the large-sized OLED TV market, the executive said Merck's plan to become a leader of OLED materials by 2018 has not been changed due to the rise of OLED-embedded products from smartphones to in-vehicle infotainment systems.
Merck, which dominates the market for liquid crystals for displays, is one of dozens of players in the nascent OLED market. Others include Universal Display, Dow Chemical and BASF.
OLEDs are used in displays for mobile phones, digital cameras and other gadgets and are popular for portable devices that are used outdoors.
"The OLED market has a promising future, but right now, there should be price for value. Also, you have to get some premiums for your money. The product has to be produced economically, otherwise only the very affluent can afford it. But if you go to Volkswagen, which has a similar setup like Samsung, they are not famous for being the first but they are the biggest and they have big money," Grund said.
"And when they move, they demand cost efficiency. The ideal is most likely that OLEDs will start with high-end buyers, where you use the nice form factors to differentiate by design from competitors, and then later there is a bigger market."
He declined to specify whether or not the move by LG Electronics to OLED TVs will pay off.
In an attempt to enjoy a "first-mover advantage" in the OLED TV market, the LG Group of technology affiliates ? LG Electronics, LG Chem, LG Display, LG Innotek ? teamed up to promote OLED TVs. LG Electronics is the No. 2 TV maker after Samsung.
But LG's OLED-first TV business strategy is facing challenges amid weak demand with lukewarm response from manufacturers and from Samsung's aggressiveness to promote TVs with quantum dot displays.
Samsung still believes advancements in quantum dot technology such as quantum dot material without cadmium have made them useful for television manufacturers giving them a competitive edge in the industry by maintaining its existing infrastructure, which means no heavy costs.
Creating better color with color tuning features has become a key selling point for display manufacturers.
"OLED will not replace one to one with LCD. OLED will display in some areas, maybe in high-end areas to compete against LCD, but by the properties of OLED, you can move into areas which cannot be addressed by today's LCD displays. The form factors so you can make it easier, for instance, bendable, flexible and transparent. All these things are easier to realize with OLED technology," Grund said.