According to a report from iSuppli, short supplies of small-sized Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) displays, like the one used in the Incredible and a lot of other Android devices, are slowing the display technology’s bid to challenge the dominance of the incumbent AMLCD technology in the smartphone market.
Shipments of small-sized AMOLEDs used in cell phones and other applications are projected to reach 184.5 million units by 2014, up from 20.4 million units in 2009, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.1 percent during the period, according to a revised forecast from iSuppli.
While those numbers represent impressive growth, the AMOLED shipments pale next to small-sized AMLCDs, which are forecasted to rise to 1.75 billion units by 2014 from 1.3 billion in 2009.
“Starting with the Nexus One introduced in January, 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 Vinita Jakhanwal, principal analyst for small and medium displays at iSuppli, in a statement. “However, rising demand – combined with a limited supply base – has led to the constrained availability of AMOLEDs.”
AMOLEDs offer a number of advantages compared to AMLCDs. AMOLEDs use no backlights, so they offer potential power-savings benefits compared to AMLCDs. In addition, the elimination of backlights also makes AMOLEDs very thin relative to AMLCDs. AMLCDs also offer superior performance, with better fast motion display and a richer color gamut compared to AMOLEDs, the firm says.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the AMOLED supply chain is Samsung is currently the sole large-scale supplier of the display panels, with LG slowly getting into the market.
With Samsung and LG spearheading the development of AMOLED, 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.