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AMOLED Displays Become Cheaper to Make Than LCD Panels

March 24, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Back when Samsung launched the original Galaxy S into the then-emerging smartphone market, they did so with a handset that – despite some questionable software design – offered something that the HTCs and iPhones of the time didn’t; a Super AMOLED display. The Super part is of course reserved only or devices from Samsung, like the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but AMOLED displays are basically just OLED displays with an Active Matrix, and the OLED part is the real special sauce. Organic LED technology has come on leaps and bounds over the past five years, and with the deeper blacks, more vibrant colors and so on, these displays not only look better – to the majority of users – but they also save power, too. Those wishing for AMOLED displays on devices that aren’t from the Samsung family should be excited at this latest news, as AMOLED displays have become cheaper to make than your traditional LCD display.

Analyst firm IHS discovered that AMOLED panels cost $14.3 to produce, while LTPS LCD panels cost $14.6. This is obviously only a small difference in price, but that gap could widen throughout the rest of the year and into 2017. For the Android market this could allow manufacturers a way of offering more features than the iPhone at a lower cost. For all its plus points, the iPhone’s display cannot compete with the sort of color reproduction and brightness of a good AMOLED display. We’ve even seen devices from China use Edge displays supplied by Samsung, so there’s clearly some great hardware with AMOLED display technology on the horizon.

It’s unlikely that AMOLED panels will become the norm for smartphones just yet, but this news at least makes the display technology an option for manufacturers looking to offer their customers a little something extra. Trends come and go in the technology sector, but with this latest price drop it appears as though AMOLED will be one to stick, and one that will no longer be just Samsung’s marketing tool. With AMOLED panels getting better and better, it seems likely that affordable devices and high-end Android smartphones will get a boost in terms of overall display quality.