Daegu, Korea - At the combined International Meeting on Information Displays (IMID) and the International Display Manufacturing Conference (IDMC), being held here this week, the difference between Samsung’s and LG.Philips LCD’s (LPL’s) approach to active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays couldn’t have been more striking.
Senior Analyst and Editor
of HDTV Retailer and
Mobile Display Report
In strategic statements from executives and impressive, multifaceted exhibits on the show floor, Samsung showed its enthusiastic commitment to AMOLED displays. Two Samsung companies - Samsung SDI (the plasma and traditional OLED company) and Samsung Electronics (the LCD company) - are even competing with each other in the segment. Samsung SDI even showed off a handsome new typographical logo to brand its AMOLED displays.
Soon-Taek Kim, President and CEO of Samsung SDI, called AMOLED "the perfect display for mobile moving pictures" during his keynote address "The New Race for the Ultimate Display." Small displays are coming first, he said, to be followed by monitors and TVs. (The official division of AMOLED labor at Samsung is that SDI will do small displays and Samsung Electronics’ LCD Business will do large displays, but that may not hold up under the intense, long-running competition between these two Samsung companies.)
On the other hand, Namyang Lee (Vice President, LPLs’ Small & Medium Displays Development Department) could not have been much more negative concerning the potential of AMOLEDs in his presentation "The Status of Small & Medium Displays," which was delivered on Tuesday as part of the IMID/IDMC Business Forum sponsored by the Korean Information Display Society and Displaybank. Given the fact that LG Electronics is in the process of transferring its AMOLED program to LPL, Lee’s tepid view of AMOLEDs does not bode well for the technology’s future at the company. The most positive statement that Lee could come up with in Daegu was "How well AMOLED will do in the future is, I think, an open question."
He also said the cost of AMOLED is twice that of AMLCD, which is consistent with what we heard back in June when we also raised the flag about the viability of AMOLEDs in our newsletters. As Lee spoke, the expression "self-fulfilling prophecy" echoed loudly through Convention Hall 1 at Daegu’s EXCO, at least in my imagination.
On the show floor Samsung SDI mounted side-by-side demonstrations that effectively showed off AMOLED’s superior color gamut, contrast, response time, viewing angle, and power consumption on all but the brightest content. The results were so striking they gave some credence to a research result SDI’s Kim had reported in his keynote address: Consumers, he said, reported they would be willing to pay up to $200 more for a TV cell phone containing an AMOLED display. That sounds overly optimistic, but it’s not at all hard to believe that this kind of moving-image quality can command a premium.
Self-fulfilling prophecies cut both ways.