Supply chain
Digitimes Research: Taiwan panel makers focusing on 18:9 all-screen smartphone panels
Jen-Chieh Yang, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

With regard to the development of smartphone-use panels, Taiwan's top-three TFT LCD panel makers all have been focusing on all-screen displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio recently. The new 6G LTPS fabs of AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux in Taiwan have entered volume production recently, and a new 6G line of Chunghua Picture Tubes (CPT) in China is expected to come online shortly. CPT's 6G line also plans to develop IGZO panels later.

In terms of technology development, Taiwan's major flat panel players are eyeing flexible panels, with AUO being able to roll out prototypes of 4mm radius curved displays enabling to be flexed continuously for over one million times.

The development of 18:9 handset-use panels comes as smartphone clients are shifting to focus on all-screen models. The current mainstream all-screen panels rolled out by Taiwan makers include 5.7- and 5.99-inch sizes, which are the extended 18:9 versions of traditional 5.2- and 5.5-inch 16:9 panels. Meanwhile, the all-screen panels are available mainly in FHD+ (2,160 by 1,080 pixels) and HD+ (1,440 by 720 pixels) resolutions.

Both AUO and Innolux have been focusing on producing FHD+ all-screen panels from their 6G LTPS lines, while CPT is rolling out HD+ 18:9 panels using a-Si TFT LCD process.

While the adoption of polyimide (PI) substrates has also become a mainstream for the development of flexible display technology, major players have also continued their efforts to advance their thin-film packaging technology to enhance the bendability and practicality of their flexible panels.

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