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iSuppli: LED Will Top Notebooks By 2012

4/23/2008 03:25:00 PM Eastern

El Segundo, Calif. — Research firm iSuppli predicts that LEDs will be used in nine out of 10 large-sized mobile PC LCD panels by 2012.

The study says it is due to LED’s low power consumption, thin form factor, light weight and environmental friendliness compared to CCFL backlights.

In a new report, iSuppli estimates 90 percent of large-sized LCD notebook-PC panels shipped in 2012 will employ LEDs to backlight their displays, up from just 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. By the end of this year, the firm predicts LED-backlit large LCD notebook PC panel shipments will surge to 17.4 million units, up by more than a factor of six from 2.8 million units in 2007.

iSuppli defines large-sized LCD panels as those having a diagonal dimension of 10-inches and larger.

“While [currently popular CCFL technology] is a proven technology and has lower cost compared to LED, it faces shortcomings in the areas of power consumption and thickness compared to LEDs,” said Sweta Dash, LCD and projection research director at iSuppli. “In the future, as the cost differential between LED and CCFL backlights narrows, LED-based notebook PC panels will gain market share due to their thinner form factor, lower power consumption and lack of mercury content.”

According to Dash's predictions, despite the higher adoption rate for LED backlights in the notebook PC market, the downside impact on CCFL demand will be very limited because notebooks constitute only a small percentage of total large-sized LCD CCFL demand while televisions and monitors have greater shares.

A release about the report noted RGB LED backlights are still much more expensive than CCFL-back-lit notebook panels, with a $50 to $80 price premium, while white LEDs are slightly less than $25 more costly than CCFLs. However, it said panel suppliers are starting to develop in-house LED backlighting capability to mitigate costs.

iSuppli noted that yield improvement is another important factor for reducing costs. It said yield rates for LED-equipped panels are still quite low, sometimes contributing to higher costs. The firm said panel makers are striving to improve these yields and that it expects the white-LED backlight notebook panel price gap compared with the CCFL backlight will narrow to within $10 during the next few years.

iSuppli also said that the introduction of new products that are thinner and brighter than the older models and have higher contrast ratios which will help boost adoption rates. Moreover, it also noted that new research is looking at how to increase the color gamut for white LED-based panels and that panel suppliers continue to introduce RGB LED-based notebook panels in 15.4-inch and 17-inch sizes, mostly for higher-end products. 

iSuppli Figure: Worldwide Forecast of Penetration of LED Backlights In Large-Sized LCD Notebook PC Panels
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Global Penetration Rate 3% 13% 32% 55% 75% 90%
Source: iSuppli Corp. April 2008

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