AMOLEDs now cheaper than LCDs? +3
I've been pointing out all along that the architecture of AMOLED screens is inherently simpler, and thus theoretically cheaper, than that of LCDs. Now, IHS is claiming that we have finally reached that inflection point. Specifically, it is being reported that panels for 5" AMOLED smart-phone screens cost $14.30 to produce, whereas their LTPS LCD counterparts cost $14.60, including depreciation. Assuming the report is correct, this has some important implications:
- In Korea, expect production lines to be converted at a rapid
pace, given the strong consumer preference
for AMOLEDs. This may, in turn, put even more pressure on the
- The data makes Apple's failure to use an AMOLED in the 4" iPhone all the more disappointing. I infer this from a just-published hands on review which notes the inferior contrast of the new model.
- Though this solidifies Samsung's position as the mobile price leader, its continued push into QDTVs is either just rhetoric, or doomed to be short-lived, especially in light of the Aixtron breakthrough.
- By contrast, the future looks bright for LG Display on all
fronts. It has demonstrated superiority in producing truly flexible
displays and designing innovative
smart-phones. Despite limited mobile AMOLED capacity, the
company has been slowly, but steadily increasing
its smart-phone shipments, reaching almost 60M units last year.
For the time being, though, LG is correctly focusing most of its
effort on AMOLED televisions, since it has no competition in
that market. Continued build-out for all types of products
should enable high margins going forward.
- That leaves plenty of room for entry by other players, with AU
Optronics being the clear technology leader and best candidate
to capitalize on Apple's need to catch up.