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AMOLED Shortages Hamper Android

7/08/2010 02:13:03 PM Eastern

El Segundo, Calif. -
Limited supplies of small-size AMOLED displays are hampering the ability of AMOLED-equipped
Android smartphones to compete with Apple's iPhone, iSuppli said.

Shortages
of AMOLED displays have been cited by Verizon for delayed shipments of the
HTC-made Droid Incredible.

AMOLED
offer several advantages over AMLCD (active matrix LCD) screens used in the
iPhone and other smartphones. Advantages include lower power consumption and
thinness.

Google's Nexus One was the first Android
smartphone to use an AMOLED. Another will be Samsung's Galaxy S, due this year
from all four major carriers.

"Android-based
smartphones have aggressively adopted high-quality AMOLED displays as a
competitive differentiator against the advanced-technology AMLCD screen used in
the iPhone," said iSuppli analyst Vinita Jakhanwal "However, rising demand
combined with a limited supply base has led to the constrained availability of
AMOLEDs."

  AMOLED displays use no backlight, offering
power-saving advantages of particular benefit to power-hungry smart phones, he
said. In addition, the lack of a backlight makes AMOLED displays very thin
compared with AMLCDs. Finally, AMOLEDs offer faster motion display and a richer
color gamut. On the other hand, AMLCDs have fixed-cost advantages because
AMOLEDs have been around only for a few years, he noted.

Samsung and LG are spearheading the
development of AMOLED, so "what the two companies do will determine whether the
technology moves beyond its current niche status into a position in which the
technology becomes a viable competitor for mobile handset displays," Jakhanwal
said.

To increase supply, Samsung plans to get an
additional Generation 5.5 factory up and running at the end of 2011, and LG is
starting a new Generation 4.5 plant, iSuppli said. Right now, these two
companies are the only sources for AMOLED panels, although SMD plans to start
production in 2012. Taiwan-based AU Optronics and TPO Display are also planning
to introduce AMOLED products at the end of 2010 or early 2011.

"Overall, handset makers are pushing to make
displays available in mass-volume production from AMOLED suppliers." Jakhanwal
said. "In a market that is becoming highly competitive with a perceptible
emphasis on distinctive features and improved performance, AMOLED may offer
manufacturers crucial and much-needed choices with which they can achieve
product differentiation."

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