Original equipment manufacturers from China see MicroLED panels as viable alternatives to AMOLED modules, DigiTimes reported Thursday, citing industry sources familiar with the matter. A number of major OEMs from the Far Eastern country are hence set to adopt such screens over the course of this year and are specifically targeting the second half of 2018 for commercialization, having reportedly already notified their Taiwanese suppliers about their plans. While phone makers generally aren't skeptical about the benefits of AMOLED technologies, they fear massive shortages of such panels in later parts of the year, primarily due to Apple that's expected to fully embrace the display solution with its next iPhone series set to be released in fall.
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant already introduced a Samsung-made AMOLED display with its iPhone X and is expected to equip the rest of its offerings with such screens starting this year. As iPhones remain the single most popular smartphone family in the world, any mobile technology sought by Apple is likely to be in short supply and with Samsung already accounting for the vast majority of the global production of such small and mid-sized modules, Chinese Android OEMs came up with an alternative solution, presumably not just to avoid paying extra for the components but also to stop relying on the South Korean display maker as much, especially since domestic AMOLED production operations are expected to ramp up in the coming years and will be directly rivaling Samsung's business.
MicroLED technologies have already been showcased at CES 2018 over the course of this week as even Samsung demoed the world's first such TV but aren't expected to be embraced by large panel manufacturers on any significant scale until at least 2019. As its name suggests, the solution relies on multiple microscopic light-emitting diodes that mimic OLED panels in the sense that they light up a panel on a per-pixel basis, allowing black portions of the screen to remain unlit and not just conserve energy but also present truly infinite blacks. The main difference between the two is also MicroLED's biggest advantage over panels relying on organic light emitting diodes as the technology uses inorganic materials, consequently being able to offer much higher peak brightness and — therefore — up to 30 times better contrast. The manufacturing costs associated with MicroLED panels due to the currently limited production output are the main reason why TVs powered by the new technology are unlikely to enter the mainstream (i.e. somewhat affordable) segment of the market before 2020.