LTPS Smartphone Demand Causes Tablet Price Competition

IHS DisplaySearch has shared its latest panel pricing data from the PriceWise service, covering early July.

The Chinese smartphone market is unchanged from June, entering a state of maturation. Brands are cautious with orders, due to concerns over half-year financial results. Weak demand has led to falling prices.

LG Display is expected to ship mass-produced 5.2″ in-cell touch smartphone displays (1920 x 1080) this month. BOE and Century have released samples of similar units. The increasing supply will cause a drop in the price of 1920 x 1080 smartphone panels in the coming months.

Demand is rising for mobile LTPS technology, so selling amorphous mobile phone TFT-LCD panels is becoming more difficult. As a result, panel vendors have switched this capacity to tablets and other applications. The supply of tablet PC panels has risen more than demand. Price competition is taking place, and several other mobile brands are interested in joining the tablet PC and large-screen mobile phone markets. These brands want to produce tablet panels as prices are attractive and they believe that there is an opportunity to increase sales.

Notebook PC brands have been lowering their inventories. Panel and set inventories are higher than normal, especially in Europe and the USA. Back-to-school preparations may help to digest these inventories, but PC brands do not intend to buy more panels this month.

Intel has postponed the release of its next platform, Skylake, which has delayed the release of new notebook PCs. Some panel suppliers have moved notebook capacity to other applications. Additionally, some suppliers are lowering notebook utilisation to prevent prices from falling further. Therefore, IHS forecasts a gradual decline in prices – although not as much as seen in June – unless PC brands purchase more panels.