iPhone 6 Bolsters High-Resolution Smartphones

The price of in- and on-cell smartphone modules with 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 resolutions has fallen significantly this year. The lower prices began to appear in Q2, says DisplaySearch. Adoption is expected to grow quickly, largely due to robust demand for the iPhone 6.

As developing markets rise and low-cost smartphones become more widespread, DisplaySearch believes that the growth of 800 x 480 and 854 x 480 displays will slow next year. These types will still represent almost 30% of the smartphone market, however. 2560 x 1440 displays will account for 9% of the market. Although it is difficult to differentiate a phone solely using resolution, the trend towards higher resolutions is not going to end any time soon, said senior analyst Tina Teng.

In 2014, smartphone displays with resolutions below 960 x 540 represent 47% of the market; expected to fall to 34% next year. Volume is still significant, however. 800 x 480 and 854 x 480 will remain dominant for sub-$80 handsets. Unit shipments of phones with these resolutions (and 960 x 540) are expected to rise due to an increase in low-cost smartphone production. DisplaySearch believes that they will represent 33% of the market.

Smartphones with 1280 x 720 resolution are expected to rise from a 28% market share to 33% next year. 1920 x 1080 models and higher will climb to 34%. Based on its own research, DisplaySearch asserts that 4G smartphones, priced between $100 and $150, are likely to adopt 1280 x 720 resolution. Cost advantages will lie with 5″ and 5.5″ a-Si panels.

In the past, competitors to Apple have launched their own high-end smartphones around the same time as new iPhone models were announced. In 2014, low-end and mid-range devices have grown rapidly and so only a few competing models appeared, such as Samsung’s Note 4 and Motorola’s Nexus 6.

The growth in 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 displays is expected to accelerate in the second half of next year. Brands will be more willing to use these units due to declining component prices and maturing display technologies. UltraHD smartphones could make an appearance next year, with component makers already developing products to support 6″ UltraHD displays.