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Touch and OLED Market Update for 2H’11

Touch and OLED Market Update for 2H’11
Issue Time:2012-06-19

Touch and OLED Market Update for 2H’11

We had a Q&A with you about touch screens and OLEDs at CES 2011 back in January. Now in 2H’11, could you provide a market update? 
Since the Apple iPad successfully entered the market in 2010, many companies have been vying to enter the tablet PC market. We have tracked about 90 companies that are launching or planning to launch their own tablet PCs in 2011.

There are touch screens on every tablet PC. The majority of tablet PCs use projected capacitive touch screens. Some tablet PCs use resistive touch screens to save on costs. Some are using a digitizer type touch for pen input.

As reported in our recent Touch Panel Market Analysis, there were 26 million units of touch screens shipped in 2010 for tablet PC applications. Tablets are currently one of the fastest growing applications for touch screens. We forecast over 70 million touch screens will be shipped for tablet PC applications in 2011.

Figure 1: Microsoft Kinect Demo at CES 2011

What are the other fast growing applications besides tablet PCs?
Gaming is another fast growing application for touch screens. For example, Microsoft’s Kinect game console successfully launched in 2010. The Kinect uses an optical imaging type touch screen, which has a CMOS sensor that detects gesture touch. PrimeSense’s technology is used in the Microsoft Kinect. Nintendo 3DS is also a popular game console using touch screens.

Mobile phones are also important to mention since they are the major application for touch screens in terms of unit shipments—accounting for two-thirds of units shipped in 2010. DisplaySearch forecasts that 868 million touch screens will ship for mobile phone applications in 2011, up 68% Y/Y.

In the next several years, we also forecast strong touch screen growth in larger display applications such as all-in-one PCs and notebook PCs.

You mentioned that OLED was not very prominent at CES this year. Any market update on OLED?
Compared to 3D and touch screens, OLED was very quiet at CES 2011. The biggest OLED display supplier, Samsung, only focused on its small (<5”) AMOLED display.

Since many OLED suppliers are currently busy building larger generation factories (such as Gen 4.5 and Gen 5.5), it will take time before they are ready to show their large AMOLEDs. Samsung Mobile Display has been building its Gen 5.5 fab, which is currently expected to be in operation. The company is also working on a Gen 8 AMOLED fab.

Other companies that are active in OLED include LG Display, AUO, CMI, and Tianma. However, there are delays in some of the new fabs, partly due to equipment delays caused by the Japan earthquake and partly due to technological hurdles. We have to wait until the end of this year to see a large volume of AMOLED products.

A new disruptive technology made good progress in mid-2011: a-Si TFT backplane AMOLED. I had the opportunity to meet IGNIS and RiTdisplay representatives at SID 2011 in May. They indicated that they’ll mass produce AMOLED with a-Si TFT by the end of this year.

Figure 2: IGNIS and RiTdisplay a-Si TFT AMOLED Demo at SID 2011

Source: Ignis, photo by Jennifer Colegrove

These companies demonstrated several 3.5” HVGA, 200 nit AMOLED displays built on a-Si, rather than LTPS TFT, backplanes (LTPS TFT is used on almost all AMOLEDs currently in the market) using architectures and technologies developed by IGNIS. The organic material deposition was done by RiTdisplay, on a-Si TFT backplanes manufactured by an unnamed Taiwanese TFT LCD maker. The driver chip was produced by Himax. If a-Si TFT AMOLED technology can be brought into mass production, it could enable broader manufacturing of AMOLED since there are many more a-Si fabs than LTPS lines. This could also create a much-needed second source of AMOLEDs for smart phones, tablets, and other applications. I suggest that a-Si AMOLED technology be targeted for >7” because it is more cost competitive at larger sizes than LTPS AMOLED.