DisplaySearch: the plastic AMOLED based Apple Watch display costs over $27 to make

DisplaySearch estimate that the plastic OLED display used in the Apple Watch costs more than $27 (this is the production cost, not the display price). They say it is difficult to know for sure as the cost is highly dependent on yield rates at LG Display's fab and they do not know it yet. They assume a 60% yield rate for the $27 estimation.

Apple Watch (metal) photo

The $27 estimate includes the plastic AMOLED module, the touch panel interface and the cover glass (sapphire or glass, depends on the Watch model).

DisplaySearch: small-size AMOLED production cost to fall below LCDs within 2 years

DisplaySearch says that manufacturing costs for small-sized AMOLEDs are currently about 10-20% higher than comparable LCDs. A 5" Full-HD AMOLED for example, costs 16% more than a comparable LCD one.

But improvement in production yields will lower the gap - and in fact DisplaySearch sees OLEDs becoming cheaper than LCDs within two years, when AMOLED production yields reach 90%. DisplaySearch also says sees OLED materials cost reductions, which will also reduce prices further.

DisplaySearch: OLED material revenue growth to be lower than expected

DisplaySearch says that the OLED industry's material growth is going to be lower than expected due to high manufacturing cost, delays in OLED TV and "very few breakthroughs in AMOLED displays". DisplaySearch now estimates the total material market in 2014 to reach $795 million (previously they estimated it to reach over $1 billion).

According to DisplaySearch, in 2014 the material market will grow 77% and in 2015 it will again grow by 70%. Growth will be much slower in 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, in 2014 the green emitter and host materials (EML) will grow by 228%. I think the reasoning is that Samsung will convert more lines to PHOLED greens (which cost more than fluorescent green). This is good news for Universal Display. In addition, it seems that blue EML costs will not grow much which probably means DisplaySearch is not seeing blue PHOLED adoption at all.

DisplaySearch sees 100,000 curved OLED TVs sold in 2014, over 2 million in 2017

DisplaySearch says that curved TV shipments will reach almost 800,000 units worldwide in 2014, and sales will grow to over 6 million by 2017. DisplaySearch sees curved TV as a novelty that will actually wear off with time and shipments will trail off in time.

Even though the first curved TV were OLED TVs, there are also curved LCDs and in fact DisplaySearch says that the majority of curved TV shipments will be LCDs (not surprising really as OLED TV prices will remain high in the near future).

DisplaySearch: the flexible OLED market could reach $20 billion by 2020

DisplaySearch posted an interesting blog post, in which they say that following the release of the Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex smartphones, flexible displays may have finally reached critical mass. DisplaySearch estimates that new device with flexible OLEDs in various form factors will reach the market in 2014.

DisplaySearch further says that in the optimistic scenario, the flexible OLED market could grow as fast as 151% CAGR to exceed $20 billion in 2020. Several manufacturing technology issue still needs to be sorted out before this happens, but it is possible that innovations will continue to increase flexibility and lower costs.

New DisplaySearch report sees AMOLED losing market share in mobile phones by 2020

In August 2013, DisplaySearch said that AMOLED technology is expected to take the revenue lead in the mobile phone display market. The company now released their new worldwide FPD shipment forecasts, and they say that actually LTPS LCD had the largest revenue share in 2013 (37%) followed closely by AMOLED (35%).

Interestingly, the company sees LTPS LCDs to grow in popularity as requirements for higher resolution and longer battery life will drive the growth. Those LTPS LCDs will grab 51% of the market by 2020. It's one of the first time I see a market research saying that AMOLED mobile phone displays wil stop growing in the future - and even decline in market share.

DisplaySearch questions Samsung's bendable LCD viability

During CES, both Samsung and LG introduced bendable TVs. LG showed a 77" bendable OLEDs, while Samsung showed 55" bendable OLEDs and a 85" bendable LCD.

Samsung 85-inch bendable TV prototypeSamsung 85-inch bendable LCD

DisplaySearch posts that they were surprised at first to see a bendable LCD as they expected such designs to be achievable with OLEDs only. According to DisplaySearch, only the LCD panel is bendable in Samsung's prototype. The backlight remains flat in Samsung's TV. This can create lighting non uniformity. There are some solutions, but it seems that one drawback is that the TV can only be used in two modes - flat or curved. You cannot choose your own curvature.

LG is "bored of flat" and sees a bright future for flexible smartphones

LG sees a bright future for flexible displays. In fact the company predicts that flexible smartphones will take-up 40% of the smartphone market in 2018. Samsung thinks the same, and they are basing their numbers on DisplaySearch - which means that LG is also probably actually quoting the same source.

LG Electronic's mobile product planning chief, Dr Ramchan Woo, says that "we are bored of flat" and that a flexible device is much more than just a flexible display. For example one of the key technologies in the G Flex is the flexible Stack & Folding battery made by LG Chem (here's a photo of the battery). Another key technology is the thin cover glass - and so we learn that this phone, similarly to Samsung's Galaxy Round also includes a cover glass, which explains why it is not truly "unbreakable".

Samsung sees OLED as the leading future display technology, promises foldable OLEDs in 2015

A few days ago Samsung held their Analyst Day 2013 with a lot of fascinating information regarding the company's present business and its future plans. It was clear from Samsung Display's presentation that the company sees OLED as the leading future display technology and puts a great emphasis on flexible displays. They see flexible OLED penetration into the mobile display market reaching 40% by 2018 (up from 0.2% in 2013) - this is based on research by DisplaySearch.

In fact Samsung Electronics's CEO announced that the company aims to bring fully-foldable screens sometimes in 2015. In the same statement he mentioned that there is still plenty of room for improvement for the Galaxy Gear and it's likely that the company is already developing a wearable device with a flexible AMOLED display.

DisplaySearch: Apple to adopt a flexible OLED in the iWatch, Samsung to release a 10" AMOLED soon

DisplaySearch posted an interesting article regarding Apple and how they plan to once again rely on display technology for the new product innovation. DisplaySearch estimates (based on supply chain research) that Apple will revamp nearly all of the displays in its products in 2014. Specifically, DisplaySearch estimates that the iWatch will indeed adopt a flexible OLED.

Apple 2011 flexible OLED watch patentApple 2011 flexible OLED watch patent

Specially, DisplaySearch says that the iWatch will use a 320x320 flexible AMOLED and the size of the display will be either 1.3" or 1.63". We heard reports last week from Korea suggesting pretty much the same specs. Last week I reported that I can't see either LGD or Samsung being able to supply Apple with the flexible displays. But DisplaySearch estimates that the iWatch will only arrives towards the end of 2014, so it may be that LGD (or Samsung) will indeed have the capacity to supply Apple by then.

Merck - Advancing Display, Advancing LifeMerck - Advancing Display, Advancing Life