Asian Rivalry Ensures Bright Future for Display Technologies
By Raymond Foo, Asian Editor, EMSNow
Jul 05, 2012
Emerging Japanese joint ventures challenge their Korean counterparts in the race to mass produce affordable OLED displays.
Driven by demand for devices such as smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, navigation devices and digital cameras, the display market is growing at a healthy rate. NPD DisplaySearch reports that 2 billion units of
small-to-medium displays were shipped in 2011, representing an increase of 6 percent over 2010. According to the research firm, the growth of smartphones had a distinct impact on the display industry, leading to higher shipments of larger and wider screens, with higher resolutions and wider viewing angles, as well as other features such as touch panels.
At the forefront in the advancement of display technologies are Asian firms, with Korean giant Samsung taking the lead. IDTechEx reports that organic electronics such as OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays are now taking off, thanks largely to investments from Samsung, seeking to differentiate its smartphone display technology against key competitor Apple. This has led to OLEDs becoming a market of more than $6 billion this year, up from $1 billion just two years ago. Samsung and LG are now following up with OLED televisions expected to be launched in the latter half of this year, according to the report.
Business activities in the display market have been taking place at a frantic pace with many companies positioning themselves to take advantage of further growth. Japanese television makers Sony and Panasonic have reportedly announced a new partnership to mass produce OLED televisions with the aim to develop technology that will enable them to become more affordable. By combining their R&D resources, the two companies are hoping to regain lost market share from their Korean rivals.
Other Japanese companies also taking up the challenge to inexpensively mass produce OLED panels include Mitsubishi Chemical and Pioneer Corporation. They recently announced the establishment of a new facility to develop OLED lighting technology. According to the companies, the facility will be able to produce and evaluate the performance of prototype OLED lighting panels using the wet coating process on glass substrates with the aim to develop and test mass production technology. The companies hope to commence full-scale production of OLED lighting by 2014.
Meanwhile, Samsung has merged its Mobile Display and S-LCD units to form Samsung Display, said to be the world's largest display manufacturer with close to 40,000 employees and seven production facilities worldwide. The company said it plans to synergize its LCD and OLED business initiatives and also intends to strengthen its global competitive edge by combining OLED production technology with precision large panel operations and supply chain management.
Developments have also been taking place in other areas such as the FPD (flat panel display) market whereby Toshiba, Sony and Hitachi have combined their expertise as one company named Japan Display Inc (JDI). With these and other activities very much in evidence, the future of display technologies looks to be in good hands. Consumers can therefore look forward to slimmer and sleeker devices with sharper and brighter picture quality at more affordable prices in the near future.