CMI at SID 2012: AMOLED production in Q4 2012, but very low volume even in 2013

Chimei Innolux had a nice booth at SID 2012, and I was given a nice tour of the booth by their PR people (who allowed me to take photos and videos even though they had a sign saying it ain't allowed). CMI's marketing guys were also kind enough to answer a few questions I had on their OLED program.

A few days before SID CMI announced that it will begin to produce 3.4" and 4.3" panels by Q4 2012. At SID I learned that the first OLED fab to go online is actually an old TPO/Toppoly 3.5-Gen fab. The panels will use LTPS backplane and will both feature 960x540 resolution (so it's 326 ppi on the 3.4" panel and 257 ppi on the 3.4" panel). CMI says that their technology is "ready" for 4.5" 720p (326ppi) panels as well.

The bad news is that production volume will be very low. In fact in Q4 2012 the company will only be able to produce around 15,000 4.3" panels each month. They say that they are currently focused on getting the production technology better and not on mass production. In early 2013 production volume is expected to grow to about 100,000 4.3" panels a month (still very low when you consider that some estimate the OLED smartphone market to reach 261 million units in 2013).

CMI is using a RBGW (WOLED-CF) architecture, which they say allows them to fabricate high density displays without Pentile. They say that for typical use cases (e-mail, web browsing) RGBW is more efficient than RGB (side-by-side, SBS): by about 40% (see slide). LG Display also says that their RGBW design is more efficient than RGB in such scenarios.

Both the 3.4" and 4.3" panels on display (branded TrueOLEDs, by the way) looked good. CMI also had a viewing-angle-test device that included an IPS-LCD, a 'regular" AMOLED and the company's own TRUEOLED panel. You could rotate that device to see the viewing angles of all devices. CMI's panel seemed better (mostly brighter) from the side than the other two, but that's not a very good test, really.

Finally, here are three photos of the OLED panels on display at CMI:

Innolux AMOLED prototype, 2012
Posted: Jun 17,2012 by Ron Mertens