AMOLED Panels Growing In Popularity As Costs Come Down

September 18, 2015 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

Adoption of AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display panels in smartphones is on the rise, and according to a recently released report from market research firm IHS iSuppli, the demand for such panels is not about to die out any time soon. For the uninitiated, iSuppli describes itself as a market research firm focused on the electronics value chain, and is best known for tearing down gadgets to evaluate component costs. The company’s latest report now indicates that over a third of all smartphones (34.6 percent to be precise) sold in Q2, 2015 were shipped with AMOLED panels, which is a significant increase from 22.8 percent in Q3, 2014. In value terms, AMOLED panels generated revenues of US$2.49 billion in the second quarter of this year, which is an increase from US$2.371 billion in the first quarter, which itself was significantly higher than US$1.749 billion in Q4, 2014. As for the third quarter of last year, AMOLED panels worth $1.521 billion were used by manufacturers worldwide.

IHS iSuppli attributes this steady increase in the popularity of AMOLED panels to the decreasing cost of the technology, leading many manufacturers to adopt them for their products. This year at least 15 different smartphone makers in China have reportedly used AMOLED panels in their flagship smartphones. Samsung, the company that originally popularized the technology by using such panels in their Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series of flagship smartphones, has been the biggest beneficiary of the growing popularity of AMOLED panels, as it holds a 99 percent ownership of the market. The panels are known for their vibrant colors, better contrast ratios, impeccable viewing angles and higher energy efficiency, when compared to traditional IPS LCD panels, which have thus far been used by most manufacturers in their smartphones and tablets.

Samsung has started using Super AMOLED panels even in their entry-level handsets like the recently-released Galaxy J2, which costs around $120 in India. With the price differential between a Full HD AMOLED panel and its LCD counterpart reduced to about $8 over the past four quarters, LCD panels are actually experiencing a downturn in sales, with revenues of $4.73 billion in the second quarter of this year, compared to $4.893 billion in the previous quarter. Which in itself, was significantly lower than $6.462 billion in Q4, 2014.