AMOLED Now Costs Less Than LCD

At the recent Korea Display Conference, IHS’s Hyun-jin Kim said that production costs for an AMOLED smartphone display are now lower than an LCD unit. A 5″ 1920 x 1080 AMOLED display now costs $14.30 to produce (down from $17.10 in Q4’15), while an LTPS-LCD costs $14.70 (down from $15.70).

The research deals with LTPS-LCD displays, which use the most premium type of transistor – and the most common in the smartphone market. This marks the first time that an AMOLED display has been cheaper to produce than an LCD.

Samsung Display, the world’s largest producer of small- and medium AMOLED displays, has been expanding its production since the second half of 2015. It has been expanding its customer base to include many Chinese OEMs, and has raised yield rates from 90% to 95%.

“While [the] average rate of operation is 80% for 5th- and 6th-generation lines, Samsung Display’s A2 and A3 lines maintain a high rate of operation”, said Kim. “If [the] rate of operation is kept at 95%, a business can reduce production costs by about 16%, compared to production rates of 70%”.

Analyst Comment

Capacity remains an issue, of course – especially if SDC has, indeed, secured AMOLED orders for Apple’s iPhone 7. We don’t expect to see the smartphone world switch from LCD just yet, although the news is encouraging. (TA)