OLED displays, and more specifically those employing AMOLED technology, will be the predominant smartphone screen type in four years’ time.
According to global research firm IHS Markit, AMOLED displays with a low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) backplane will account for more than one-third (36 percent) of all smartphone displays shipped in 2020, becoming the most-used display technology in smartphones, surpassing a-Si (amorphous silicon), thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD, and LTPS TFT LCD displays.
“While OLED is currently more difficult to manufacture, uses more complicated materials and chemical processes, and requires a keen focus on yield-rate management, it is an increasingly attractive technology for smartphone brands,” said IHS Markit senior director David Hsieh. “OLED displays are not only thinner and lighter than LCD displays, but they also boast better color performance and enable flexible display form factors that can lead to more innovative design.”
AMOLED displays are currently employed in Samsung’s premier Galaxy line among other flagship phones, and Apple is expected to follow suit with its upcoming iPhone 7 Plus.
With Samsung Display, LG Display, Sharp, JDI, BOE, Tianma, GVO, Truly and CSOT ramping up their AMOLED manufacturing capacities and devoting more resources to technology development, global AMOLED manufacturing capacity will increase from 5 million square meters in 2014 to 30 million square meters in 2020, the research group said.
“Many display manufacturers were investing in LTPS LCD, thinking it would overtake a-Si technology,” Hsieh added. “However, many of the fabs under construction, especially in China, have had to change their plans to add OLED evaporation and encapsulation tools, because OLED penetration has been more rapid than previously expected.”
Comprehensive global display shipment data and long-term forecasts are available from IHS Markit here.