After years of OLED R&D but no actual reports, Taiwan's Innolux is finally demonstrating its new OLED prototypes, signalling that the company is finally about to re-enter the OLED market. Innolux says that it has recently "achieved success with AMOLED technology" and now plans to continue development and ultimately mass produce AMOLED panels.
In a trade-show in Taiwan, Innolux is demonstrating several OLED prototypes. First up we have a 5.5" WQHD (2560x1440, 534 PPI) flexible AMOLED built on a plastic substrate and an LTPS backplane. The panel has a "proprietary pixel rendering methods" (perhaps PenTile like?) and uses thin-film encapsulation and is produced using an FMM mask (more on this below).
The second prototype is a 12.3" AMOLED aimed for automotive applications. Innolux says that this display offers high brightness, high contrast, high resolution (not detailed) and a high color saturation. Innolux did not reveal any technical specification of this panel, though.
Unfortunately, we do not have any images or videos of the new displays, hopefully we'll get some soon.
Innolux's OLED history is interesting - and it is great to see this company finally re-entering the OLED market. In December 2009, Chimei bought both TPO and CMO. CMO had an OLED subsidiary called CMEL that had an active AMOLED program and produced several AMOLED displays - including 7.6" panels. Production at CMEL halted following the merger. TPO was developing small (3" and 4") AMOLEDs but had technical difficulties.
Innolux continued its AMOLED development, and in 2012 demonstrated several small AMOLED panels - promising to start low-volume mass production towards the end of the year. This never materialized, though, and Innolux shifted focus to 4K LCD technologies later that year.
Interestingly, the 2012 panels were WRGB panels. Innolux now says that its latest flexible prototypes were producing using a fine-metal-mask (FMM) which means that these use direct-emission and not a WRGB structure.
In early 2016, it was reported that Innolux is building a new 6-Gen LTPS line that will have a monthly capacity of around 23,000 substrates - and will produce both LCD and AMOLED panels. It may be that these new panels are to be produced at the new 6-Gen fab (it is also possible that Innolux will at first use the older 3.5-Gen CMEL or TPO fabs - or maybe the OLEDs will be produced at Sharp, see more below). Innolux's president said that Innolux expects OLED demand in high-end smartphones to take off in 2017, and that Innolux continues its flexible OLED R&D.
What may have been the decisive factor for Innolux, though, is Apple. Following Foxconn's Sharp acquisition (Hon Hai Precision) for $3.5 billion, the Taiwanese company is starting to integrate Sharp's display business with Innolux, Foxconn Taiwanese display arm. As Apple moves to OLEDs, Foxconn is rushing to produce AMOLEDs.