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Recent OLED news:
Three weeks ago, Seeking Alpha published my first article on Universal Display, titled "Universal Display: 20X Jackpot In 2018?" - in which I presented my best-case scenario for the OLED market (and UDC) in 2018.
I think the article was received well, and today SA published my second article - "Universal Display's Second Key Customer Is On Its Way". In this new article I explain why Samsung Display is such an important customer for UDC - and how I expect in that in the coming years UDC will diversity its key customer base as I expect LG Display, Konica Minolta, Everdisplay, BOE, Philips and LG Chem to start mass producing OLEDs soon.
MKS Instruments (a provider of instruments and solutions for advanced manufacturing processes) reported their financial results, and during the conference call the company said that a large Chinese display maker placed a multisystem order for a Liquizon cleaning subsystem. The Chinese company will use this system for their upcoming AMOLED production fab.
It's great to hear confirmation of at least one Chinese AMOLED fab. We know of several companies from China with plans to launch an AMOLED fab, including Everdisplay, BOE and CSOT. While Everdisplay hopes to be the first one to mass produce OLEDs in Chinese, it is a new company, so MKS would not have described it as a "large Chinese display maker". It's more likely that this order came from BOE.
Cintelliq released a new OLED lighting report, in which they say that the commercialization of OLED lighting continues to accelerate. As companies are beginning to scale-up production, Cintelliq sees OLEDs becoming a strong competitor to LED by 2016 - one year earlier than previously thought.
By 2020 OLED panels will be priced at €200 per m2 and operate at a brightness of 5,000cd per m2 and we could see OLED panels priced at less than €14/klm. By 2023 worldwide OLED panel production may exceed 500 million 100mm x 100mm panel equivalents.
Next month it's going to be one year since LG launched their curved OLED TV in the US (for $14,999). LG kept lowering the price of this TV, and today I found out that it is being sold on Amazon.com for $3,299. That's an almost 80% price drop in less than a year!
In fact, LG's OLED TV now costs less than Samsung's curved 4K LED-LCD TV, the UN55HU9000 (which sells on Amazon today for $3,497). So now you can choose - a sharper curved 4K LCD or a FHD OLED with its infinite contrast, better colors and slimmer design.
OLEDNet posted an interesting article saying that Gionee's upcoming GN9005 ultra-slim smartphone uses a 4.8" HD AMOLED Panel (306 PPI) made by AU Optronics. OLEDNet says that the fact that this panel is called "AMOLED" and not "Super AMOLED" like SDC's panels is a hint, and in addition, it is a low-performance panel compared to the SDC-made 5" FHD 441 PPI panel Gionee used in their previous phone (the Elife S5.5).
I'm not sure I'm convinced - this panel could still be made by SDC, even if it does not specifically use the Super AMOLED brand (this is up to Gionee I believe to decide). But OLEDNet says that according to their information, AUO started supplying AMOLED Panels to a Chinese maker last month.
Market research company TechSci released a new report in which they forecast fast growth (41% CAGR) in the next five years for the global pico projector market. Currently most pico projectors used DLP and LCoS microdisplays, but in the future laser-based projectors will be common, and in addition OLED technology will also play a "significant role" in revolutionizing the pico projector market over the next five years.
This is really interesting. While OLEDs for pico projectors were discussed in the past, the only real activity we're aware towards such a solution was a EU projector called HYPOLED back in 2008. That project, led by the Fraunhofer Institute, developed a VGA full-color OLED microdisplay coupled with pico-projector optics. Originally MED supplied the microdisplays, but the company went bankcrupt and they continued the work with MicroOLED.
In April 2014 TCL announced that their CSOT subsidiary will invest 16 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) to build a 6-Gen display fab that will be used to produce small/medium AMOLED displays. Now digitimes reports that CSOT, with support from the government of Wuhan, China, already begun trial production of AMOLED panels, and the company expects to start mass production by 2016.
It doesn't seem likely that CSOT, went from an investment plan to trial production in less than 3 months, but honestly these reports from China are not very clear. I hear it's more likely that CSOT has a pilot 4.5-Gen AMOLED line, in which they started the trial production.