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 Chinese market.
  • 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.
I intend to publish and Apple-centric article on many of these points in the near future.