Taipei, Thursday, January 29, 2015 20:44 (GMT+8)
mostly cloudy
Taipei
19°C
Digitimes Research: Insufficient panel supplies to limit 2K-resolution smartphone penetration in 2014
Jason Yang, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Monday 17 March 2014]

With Full HD (1,920 by 1,080) having become the mainstream specification of high-end smartphones in 2013, industry players are speculating over the possibility of the resolution climbing even higher to above the 2,000-pixel level in 2014. However, Digitimes Research believes such a chance is rather slim as production of high-resolution panels using LTPS and IGZO technologies still faces low yield rates and insufficient capacities.

AU Optronics (AUO) started mass producing its 6-inch WQHD (2,560 by 1,440) panels with a pixel density of 490ppi earlier in 2014 and is supplying them to China-based smartphone player BBK. China-based smartphone vendor Meizu has recently announced its next-generation MX4 smartphone will adopt a 5.5-inch 2,560 by 1,536 543ppi screen. Sharp has also signed a contract with China-based smartphone vendor Xiaomi to supply its IGZO panels to the vendor. Although Sharp did not reveal any detail on the size or resolution of the panels involved in the contract, the chance is rather high that the panels will be above 2K resolution, judging from Sharp's definition for its IGZO panels.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, several first-tier smartphone vendors which had been originally rumored to be releasing 2K-resolution smartphones, such as Sony, Samsung, and LG, instead only showcased flagship models with Full HD displays. Since their displays were larger than their predecessors', the pixel densities were therefore lower. This shows that first-tier brand vendors are more conservative than expected about 2K-resolution smartphones.

They have cocerns over panel supplies. To produce panels with a pixel density above 400ppi, the makers will need to adopt high-end technologies such as LTPS TFT, but so far only limited capacities are available for mass production using the technology.

Although LG Display (LGD) and Japan Display (JDI) both established 6G production lines for LTPS in 2013, Digitimes Research believes these new capacities are unlikely to be operating in full in the short term as they are still at the initial stage of mass production and adjustments over process parameters are still needed.

As for production of 500ppi-level panels, low yield rates during the initial stage will undermine supply. For first-tier smartphone vendors, who aim at massive shipments, panel supplies are the biggest issue needed to be resolved before the 2K resolution may become the mainstream.

Therefore, smartphone vendors that dare to take up the 2K challenge are mostly from China where most of its demand is for CNY1,000-level mid-range/entry-level smartphones. High-end models with 2K reslution are developed only for the niche market or meant to enhance the vendors' brand recognition. Big volumes of shipments are not their concern.

Although first-tier smartphone vendors are expected to start releasing 2K-resolution models in the second half of 2014 after LGD and JDI see improved operations at their 6G lines, vendors will continue to promote their Full HD smartphones side by side their 2K models, which are unlikely to become the mainstream of the high-end segment in the near term.

Topics: Page 2

Realtime news
  • Smart LED lighting expected to see fast growing demand in 3-4 years, says Philips Taiwan head

    LED | 55min ago

  • Memory suppliers account for more than 60% of 300mm wafer capacity, says IC Insights

    Bits + chips | 59min ago

  • SPIL gearing up for fan-out WLP

    Bits + chips | 1h 5min ago

  • SPIL 2014 profits almost double

    Bits + chips | 1h 9min ago

  • Digitimes Research: Taiwan sees increased 4Q14 digital camera shipments

    IT + CE | 1h 13min ago

  • Facebook opens Taiwan office

    Before Going to Press | 2min ago

  • Macronix expects return to profitability in 3Q15

    Before Going to Press | 2min ago

  • Taiwan MOEA approves new investments at Kaohsiung Software Park

    Before Going to Press | 8min ago

  • AUO aims to hold a 30% share in curved Ultra HD TV panel shipments in 2015

    Before Going to Press | 1h 1min ago

  • Taiwan government increasing cooperation with local universities to develop medical equipment

    Before Going to Press | 1h 12min ago

  • AUO expects 6-8% on-year increase in LCD panel surface in 2015

    Before Going to Press | 1h 16min ago

  • AUO to increase production capacity at Taiwan 8.5G facilities

    Before Going to Press | 1h 19min ago

  • Digitimes Research: WPC far surpasses PMA in wireless power charging certification

    Before Going to Press | 1h 30min ago

  • China market: Meizu to launch inexpensive TD-LTE smartphone

    Before Going to Press | 1h 32min ago

Pause
 | 
View more

2015 China IC design market forecast

RESEARCH EXTRAS | Jan 23, 10:50

Global economic growth is forecast to reach 3.8% in 2015, up from 3.3% in 2014. From the perspective of the electronics industry though, PC shipments will continue to decline, smartphone shipment growth will drop, and tablet shipments may decline. Despite the...

2015 global AP market forecast and vendor analysis

RESEARCH EXTRAS | Jan 23, 10:46

Digitimes Research estimates that total 2014 AP shipments will reach 1.52 billion units worldwide, up 19.6% from 2013, and in 2015 the global market will see shipments of 1.65 billion units, growing 8.5% on year. The slowdown is mainly due to a shrinking tablet...

Taiwan digital cameras – 4Q 2014

TAIWAN ICT | Jan 28, 10:51

Taiwan makers saw an on-year rise in DSC shipments during the fourth quarter of 2014, as driver IC shortages that had hampered their shipments in the previous quarter eased. But shipments for the entire 2014 continued to fall, and the trend of decline does not...

Taiwan notebooks – 4Q 2014

TAIWAN ICT | Jan 21, 15:53

The notebook market saw significant demand for entry-level devices whose pricing levels were comparable to those of tablets in the fourth quarter of 2014, which maintained Taiwan ODMs' overall shipments at a level comparable to that of the previous quarter. But...

China touch panel industry – 3Q 2014

CHINA TOUCH | Nov 28, 18:54

The third quarter is a traditional boom season for touch panels and therefore China-based touch panel makers saw shipments increase for all major applications.

2015 China smartphone panel trend forecast
Trends and forecasts for the China FPD industry, 2014-2017
Greater China touch panel shipment forecast through 2015
  • Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets

    As of 2013, the 10 ASEAN nations had a total of over 700 million mobile subscriptions, with the CAGR from 2003-2013 reaching 24%. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the various mobile broadband markets in ASEAN and looks at the respective trends in 4G LTE development for those markets.

  • Greater China touch panel shipment forecast through 2015

    This Special Report provides forecasts through 2015 for Greater China touch panel shipments with breakdowns based on technology (glass, film, resistive), application (smartphone, NB and tablet) and by firm.

  • 2014 global tablet demand forecast

    This report analyzes the main players, their strategies and shipments forecasts for 2014, as well as other factors contributing to either growth or decline in various segments within the tablet market, with a particular focus on Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, along with whitebox vendors.