OLED Panel Shortage Causes Concern for Android Smartphone Makers

OLED screens are rising in popularity and being used more in smartphones. However, according to a report by iSuppli, it seems that manufacturers of the screens cannot keep up with demand.

Samsung is one manufacturer of OLED screens but is actively pushing the Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones this year and is using the screens for it’s own products. The other big player is LG who is also attempting to push screens out.

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 such growth is impressive, 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.

The problems were said to start with the launch of the Google [GOOG] Nexus One that adopted a high-quality AMOLED display. Since then, others who manufacture Android smartphones have also wanted AMOLED screens rather than traditional LCD screens causing a larger burden on suppliers.

The reason AMOLED screens are popular is due to not using backlights which helps save power making them more efficient to use. The lack of a backlight makes them thinner than LCD’s which is also desirable for phone makers.

To fix the shortage issue SMD is investing $2.2 billion in to it’s AMOLED factory by 2012 so that more screens can be created. LG isn’t ramping up extra just yet it is believed. AU Optronics Corp. and TPO Display Corp. are also looking at creating AMOLED screens by the end of this year although they might not be pushing out enough screens to make a big enough impact.

It isn’t clear what will happen yet, but we suspect we might see some LCD screens in devices where manufacturers wanted to use OLED instead. We’ll find out soon enough for sure.

Via: Engadget

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