LG Display is one of the leaders in OLEDs, but they have recently sent some mixed messages - great OLED TV prototypes, promises of new OLED TV products soon, no AMOLED phones plans... Mr Won Kim, Vice President of OLED Sales and Marketing from LG Display has agreed to answer a few questions we had, and set things straight.
Mr Won Kim has a BA in business management from Korea University, and has been working for LG since 1984. Now he's VP of OLED sales and marketing (since 2005).
Q: What kind of OLED products are LG currently selling? What is your current capacity for OLED production?
Mobile phone only. Current capacity is 7k sheets(365 x 460) per month, which is equivalent to 200k pcs of 3" size.
Q: Can you name some products that use your OLED displays?
So far two mobile phones tailored to SKT in Korea.
Q: You have been showing a 15" OLED TV prototype since the beginning of 2009... and you said it can begin production by June 2009. Which is now.. will you start making these panels? Or are you still waiting for a customer?
During the period of Dec 2009-Jan 2010, our customer will launch 15" OLED TV in Korean market. Thereafter global roll-out follows.
LG 15-inch OLED at CES 2009
Q: LG has allocated more money to OLEDs in the beginning of the year. Are you increasing production?
Production facilities are being installed in Paju. New setup will commence production next year alongside incumbent one in Gumi.
Q: We know that you're working with UDC on Flexible OLEDs. You have commented in the past that you see flexible OLED products in the future. Is this still on? what kind of products do you envision?
Flexible OLED project is still on. Flexible display would offer free hands to designers and brand-new applications are enabled, however main technical constraints still keep the technology immature for commercial deployment. Target for UDC is as you know military application, where we have no further information.
Q: Your phone division recently said that they're not going to launch an OLED phone. Can you give more info on that decision? What has to happen in order for you to incorporate OLEDs in your phone?
OLED could not offer high resolution above 230ppi in the past. And cost was very high. They are main reasons for no acceleration. Things are being changed. Our phone division is mulling over OLEDs in every aspects. Leveraging just one of three key attributes of OLED, vivid picture quality, slim form factor especially integrated touch and eco-friendly power savings, OLED phones will not only survive entrenched LCD ones but position as a premium segment.
Q: You have started to work on OLED deposition equipment together with Samsung. How is this coming along? Should we expect more cooperation in OLED programs?
Bigger size OLED equipment development programs are there. It's not that direct cooperation between two companies. But no reason to disregard cooperation in OLED with Samsung. Cooperation partner is not confined to Korean companies.
Q: What are the main challenges still ahead for OLEDs?
Main challenges are depending on what sort of application OLED is destined to. For example, image sticking is more critical to Notebook. Overall higher cost than LCD mainly stemmed from unreached economy of scale is the key challenge.
Q: Samsung have recently joined the OLED lighting race. Do you have plans to do OLED Lighting too?
OLED lighting is an interesting business area, but no plan yet.
Q: Where do you see the Display market in 5 years? Where will OLEDs be?
Two different perspectives coexist for a while.
OLED's current acceleration in growth is based on mobile handsets, where it is arguably better looking and more power-efficient that LCDs, but those are incremental improvements. Most mobile handsets use LCDs, where they perform very effectively. We could argue that the reason OLED has grown so slowly (until now) is because they were "nice" rather than "necessary," while costing more than the incumbent display (of course).
As you can see OLED confers massive advantages, the main problem is in productionising the technology. They are starting with small screens, just as LCD did, and then gradually working their way up. But already they can be found in a number of production devices. So every LCD device will become obsolete, as the features and benefits of OLED devices are so overwhelmingly superior. And games will look so much better.
Thank you Won, thanks for the interview, I wish you good luck, and we're all waiting to see your 15" OLED TVs by the end of the year!