No new OLED gadgets, but how long we'll have to wait?

Back in May, Samsung (the only company with a mass-production AMOLED plant) announced that they can't meet up with the demand for AMOLED displays. Soon later we heard that the HTC Incredible is suffering from AMOLED shortage, and later on HTC decided to use LCDs instead of OLEDs in that phone (and others). Samsung, meanwhile, is said to be keeping all Super-AMOLED displays for themselves.

In fact, HTC is not alone: Pantech made the same decision, and we keep hearing of new devices that were originally said to have AMOLEDs, but actually use LCDs instead. Samsung's own Galaxy-S phone is a huge success, so even Samsung probably cannot use AMOLEDs in other devices.

It's rather safe to assume that OLEDs will remain dormant for the next few months: we might see some new devices, but anyone who hopes to make a successful gadget will be wary of OLEDs: there simply ain't enough of them!

But the future looks bright for AMOLEDs: Samsung has begun working on their 5.5-Gen Plant (that'll have 3 lines, a $2.2 billion investment), LG is also investing heavily in new lines (and plan a 5.5-Gen plant of their own), TPO is expected to launch products soon, AUO will soon start building their AMOLED line,Visionox has a pilot line ready and Shanghai Tianme is building a 4.5-Gen pilot line. In fact, DisplaySearch are predicting at least 20 new AMOLED production lines in just 3 years. We can also assume that these new AMOLEDs will be better than the current ones (for example Samsung plans to double the efficiency and lifetime of their AMOLEDs soon).

By the end of 2010 we'll see some new AMOLED lines being put on-line, but it seems that we'll have to wait for late-2011 or early 2012 to see real volume production of AMOLEDs - enough to be used by Apple for example, or to make large panels for OLED TVs.

Posted: Sep 02,2010 by Ron Mertens


It is more than just an AMOLED shortage.  Only Samsung SMD has demonstrated the ability to make production versios of such high resolution AMOLEDs with wVGA formats. Even with other factories coming on line these other manufacturers will need to develop such a capability to meet the needs of HTC, Pantech etc.

That is correct.  It took 10 years for Samsung  (and numerous re-financing, re-structuring, etc. - e.g. Samsung NEC, SDI and now SMD) to finally develop their OLED mass production technology to a maturity level that finally produces profit.  Will AUO, TPO and others be that patient?