Taiwan's AUO (AU Optronics) was formed in 2001, by the merger of Acer Display and Unipac Optoelectronics. Later in 2006 AUO merged with Quanta Display. AUO is the world's number 3 manufacturer of TFT-LCDs.
In 2006 AUO became the world's first AMOLED producer but in 2007 the company decided to shift focus back to LCD, and stopped investing in OLEDs.
In January 2008 AUO resumed their OLED operation, and after years of development the company started mass producing AMOLEDs again in 2014. AUO is also developing OLED TV panels, flexible and bendable panels, transparent OLEDs and OLED lighting panels. The company's OLED program is mainly focused on wearable OLEDs and OLED for VR applications.
The latest AUO OLED news:
Taiwan's AU Optronics says that while the company still produces OLED displays, and has the capacity to mass produce flexible OLEDs as well, the company sees the flexible (and foldable) OLED market still at an "initial stage in terms of market acceptance and cost structure", and the company does not have any plans at the moment to invest in further OLED capacity.
AUO says that it has "accumulated its OLED expertise for quite some time" - and indeed AUO has been developing transparent OLEDs for AR applications, foldable displays and has lately started to invest in ink-jet printing processes.
AU Optronics has been developing OLED ink-jet technologies for many years, according to reports, and has setup a 3.5-Gen pilot ink-jet OLED printing line. Today AUO announced that the company is going to showcase its first ink-jet printed OLED panel at Touch Taiwan 2019.
AUO will demonstrate a 17.3" 4K (225 PPI) OLED display that was produced using an ink-jet printing process. AUO says that the display features a 120Hz refresh rate, a wide color gamut and high brightness (that AUO did not yet specify). AUO will also showcase 5.6" foldable OLEDs that can be folded inwards or outwards for customized design according to client requirements. The display's folding radius is 4 mm and it can be folded over 200,000 times. AUO will also demonstrate a 12.1" LTPS Micro-LED prototype, which seems to be the same one shown in 2018.
In February 2019 LG Display started producing its 55" FHD transparent commercial OLED displays, and now the company says it plans to double its transparent OLED production in Q4 2019 - and continue to ramp up production years to come. LGD sees possible applications in shop windows, building façades and exhibition spaces.
AU Optronics unveiled a 6" Full-HD LCD with the world's first full-screen optical in-cell fingerprint sensor - embedded within the LCD structure.
The panel has a full-screen sensing area with the same 403 PPI density as the display and features a 30 ms swift sensor response time.
Digitimes reports that AU Optronics has setup a 3.5-Gen test ink-jet OLED printing line, and the company now intends to start building a 6-Gen production line. AUO will start constructing the line before the end of 2019.
AUO's Chairman confirmed that the latest advances in printing materials and equipment are starting to make OLED printing viable for commercial use. AUO has not yet decided the schedule for volume production.
As Samsung, BOE and Visionox are already starting to produce foldable OLEDs (for Samsung Electronics, Huawei and Xiaomi and Nubia, respectively), AUO is not be left behind, and the Taiwan-based display maker announced it is working with clients to develop foldable OLEDs, with aims to start production in the second half of 2019.
AUO is developing an in-folding display (similar to Samsung's Galaxy Fold). According to CLSA, AUO is developing its foldable OLEDs in collaboration with Lenovo. AUO aims to produce these OLEDs in its 4.5-Gen AMOLED AFPD fab in Singapore - which commenced low-volume AMOLED production in 2013. AUO is currently producing mostly wearable glass-based OLEDs in its AFPD fab.
Huawei launched several new devices yesterday, including four new AMOLED ones. The top of the line is the Mate 20 X, a large smartphone that features several high-end technologies - a 7.2" 1080x2244 (346 PPI) AMOLED display, a triple Leica cameras setup, a GoodixTech under-the-display fingerprint sensor, a 5000 mAh battery and a graphene thermal management film.
Huawei also launched the smaller Mate 20 Pro - another high-end smartphone that features a 6.39" 1440x3120 (538 PPI) AMOLED display (reportedly produced by BOE), an Octa-Core Kirin 980 (7 nm) chipet, 6GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, an NM card slot and a triple Leica optics camera setup. The Mate 20 Pro is the first smartphone to adopt Synaptics' complete display system solution - which includes Synaptics’ flexible chip-on-film (COF) ClearView display driver and the company's ClearPad touch controllers.
AUO to establish an OLED ink-jet production line, to make OLEDs for monitors and automotive applications
According to reports from China, Taiwan-based AU Optronics decided to establish an inkjet OLED production line that will be used to produce OLED monitor displays and OLEDs for automotive applications.
The new OLED line will use production equipment made by Japan's JOLED - who started commercial low-volume production of its own 21.6" 4K OLED panels, at the company's pilot 4.5-Gen line. JOLED also announced plans for a mass production 5.5-Gen line that will be established in Nomi City, Ishikawa Prefecture, by 2020, and similarly to AUO, it is focusing on monitors and automotive applications.
Transparent displays are of great interest, and many envision a plethora of possible applications that use transparent screens in the retail, commercial and consumer markets. There are many exciting applications - but none with real and immediate demand.
Many OLED makers are developing transparent OLEDs, and in the past we've seen several producers that introduced such displays to the market - only to halt production a few months later. Device makers are on the lookout for such displays, and are still disappointed even though the technology is ready.
All AMOLED makers are currently focused on two major markets - smartphone displays and wearable displays. This leaves out an important part of the market - displays that are between 1.5" and 5" in size, and device makers that want to adopt AMOLED displays in this size segment find it impossible to find the displays they want.
As smartphones grew larger and larger in recent years, the display makers are focusing on 5 to 6.5 inch for their smartphone display portfolio. Wearable AMOLED displays are exclusively aimed towards smartwatches - which use displays sized 1 to 1.5-inch, many of whom are round displays.