Technologies 2017: the year of AMOLED, HDR and flexible LCD displays?

At one time there was a very popular confrontation between AMOLED and LCD, so there was a trend that the first technology that achieved great success won, improving not only image quality, but also opening the door to a new era development. The flexible AMOLED display has made popular the flagship line from Samsung-Galaxy Edge. But now the flexible LCD display technology is entering the fray, it looks like the standoff will be tough.

The last year was very important in the duel between AMOLED and LCD, because at one point the price of a 5-inch AMOLED panel became lower than that of the LCD competitor. One of the main advantages of LCDs over OLEDs was the cost of production, they were significantly cheaper. But, nevertheless, manufacturers of budget and medium-sized smartphones have begun to look towards the most cost-effective display production technology. This was a turning point in the industry.

Huge growth of AMOLED technology

Based on information from Taiwan, it is expected that the increase in the supply of flexible AMOLED displays in 2017 will increase by 200%. According to preliminary estimates, this year 150 million units of panels will be used, for example, in the past, the figure was 50 million. There is also an opinion that the supply will increase only by 50%. This view is considered more conservative. But still, the figure is impressive. Samsung is currently the leading manufacturer of flexible AMOLED displays, but its stock is still limited. After all, first of all, it is necessary to equip your products with this technology, and only the rest will go to your competitors.

Based on industry data, Foxconn, which owns Sharp, plans to invest $ 864 million. $ to the OLED panel production line. This amount is significantly higher than what was announced earlier in September 2016 – $ 568 million. The company also reported a contribution of $ 7 billion. $ to start shipping products for Apple, but this information has not been confirmed. Rumors are still circulating around the new generation of iPhone, which will most likely replace the LCD panel with OLED. In fact, to implement this plan, additional capacity is needed.

The main competitor of Samsung is LG. It also plans to invest 1.75 billion. $ in the production of flexible OLED displays. LG said it needed a new production line for small and medium-sized flexible OLED panels in South Korea to cope with growing demand. Samsung and LG are increasingly focusing specifically on OLED technology, leaving LCD in second place. With such volumes and production speeds, it is quite possible that in a couple of years, OLED will overtake LCD.

< /p>in China, local manufacturers are looking for their place in the sun. For the sake of competition with Samsung and LG, they have to create their own production of OLED panels. According to Digitimes Research, the total annual capacity will increase from 272,000 square meters in 2016 to 1.584 million in 2018. Further in 2019, the figure will increase to 4.464 million, and in 2020 it will turn into 7.864 million square meters. For comparison, Samsung Display and LG Display have allocated 4.945 million square meters for the production capacity of OLED panels. This figure is expected to increase to 15.13 million square meters by 2020. China is striving to close this gap. By 2020, it is expected that the leading manufacturers in this area in China will be BOE Technology, Tianma Micro-electronics and Visionox.

It is fair to say that AMOLED technology has become a favorite brainchild for display manufacturers. Accordingly, the technological and investment development in Russia is noticeably deteriorating. However, this technology is still competitively capable and has several trump cards up its sleeves to compete with AMOLED.

Meet Flexible LCD

In LCD development has a new technology – Quantum Dots, it improves the overall performance of LCD displays, making them competitive with AMOLED. It is a key technology for achieving and promoting HDR in LCD displays. Also, in the development of LCD panels, an important role is played by the latest marketing move, during which this technology can, as well as AMOLED, offer the user a flexible display.In late January, Japan Display introduced a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD display that was as flexible as Samsung's and LG's OLEDs. This panel is certainly suitable for creating a competing smartphone based on LCD, which also boasts rounded edges, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

< /p>Eta technology allows you to create flexible LCDs thanks to a plastic, rather than glass substrate, on both sides of liquid crystals. This makes the panels not only more flexible, but also more protected from damage when falling.

Japan Display plans to start production of its Full Active Flex display in 2018. The company says that it already has a queue of customers for this technology, but it is not yet known who they are. So far this year, we have not seen products using flexible LCDs, but we expect to hear something new about this in the coming months.

Zabudite about 4K. It's time for HDR

The big experiments of Sony with their first 4K display did not last long. The experts concluded that any minor benefits are not worth the cost that is necessary to increase the battery life. Now the manufacturer announces a new technology-HDR, which makes the colors brighter, and the contrast is higher than before.

< /p>HDR displays require high brightness and contrast to bring out additional colors and dynamic range of images and videos. OLED panels are great for this purpose, but thanks to Quantum Dot technology, LCD is also becoming a working option. On the other hand, the implementation of HDR requires support from software and graphics.

Also, we should mention the Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm, which is built in support of 10-bit color, with the current 8-bit format. On the technical side, it can produce a much higher-quality image than the one that is produced now (using the latest available technologies).

We do not see many signs that smartphone manufacturers intend to increase the resolution of their displays this year compared to QHD(2560 x 1440), so even now 4K is no longer relevant. Now it's time for HDR. It is expected that smartphones equipped with the Snapdragon 835 chipset will appear in the second quarter of 2017. It is they who should show a number of advantages over other devices that do not support HDR technology.

Podgotovka to virtual reality

GVIRTUAL reality is gaining momentum and already now we see on the market displays and smartphones that support this platform. High pixel density, high refresh rate, and high speed are the foundation of virtual reality technology. It can be improved precisely thanks to HDR.

it seems that Google's Daydream is directed towards OLED panels. But in any case, LCD displays have the potential to become an alternative to virtual reality technology.

Sharp and Japan Display have introduced high-resolution LCD panels based on virtual reality. This event occurred in the last months of last year. This may eventually lead to the creation of your own virtual reality headset. We also see other smartphone manufacturers also using these or similar panels for use in a VR headset. Virtual reality will make changes to the design and displays of some devices in the near future.

What display trends to expect in 2017

This year, display manufacturers will not run for higher resolutions for their products. Of course, we will see significantly more smartphones with AMOLED displays, and it will not only be flagships. Lowering the cost of OLED panels and increasing production capacity should lead to the fact that this technology will be used on medium-sized devices this year.

At the same time, manufacturers of premium devices are likely to begin the introduction of HDR technology and flexible displays in their products. Thus, the devices will receive some kind of high-tech improvements. LCD displays have no place in this tough world yet. But, definitely, the technology will improve to keep up with the times.