When comparing organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) to liquid crystal display (LCD), OLEDs remain a relatively new technology in the flat panel display (FPD) market. With advanced technology, improved energy efficiency and superior viewing angle, OLEDs have become the technology of the future. While also formidable, the gradual saturation of the LCD market will positively affect the uptake of OLEDs and some market experts anticipate that the OLEDs market revenues will reach the billion dollar mark by 2009.
Frost & Sullivan (electronicdevices.frost.com) finds that the Opportunity Analysis in the OLED Display Markets earned revenues of $475.0 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $1.4 billion in 2013.
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"OLEDs promise to be one of the key technologies of the future, especially with respect to display and lighting applications," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Abhigyan Sengupta. "The key advantage of OLED displays is that they are based on an emissive technology, besides which the absence of back light units gives OLEDs certain advantages over LCDs."
The absence of the backlight in OLEDs makes them much lighter and extremely thin compared to LCDs, which tend to be large due to the presence of these backlights. In addition, reduced power consumption also makes OLEDs superior to LCDs, which require more power due to the backlight of the display module. Being emissive in nature, OLEDs offer significant power-saving capabilities that reduce the long-term application costs.
"Already popular, OLEDs are commonly used in MP3 players and mobile phones," adds Sengupta. "As the technology advances, they will have tremendous potential in a range of applications including thin TVs, flexible displays, transparent monitors and white-bulb replacement."
Market experts anticipate the OLED market revenues will reach the billion dollar mark by 2009. However, this might be a premature calculation and the market might require a few more years to reach $1 billion.
Constant price reductions in LCD technology will make the OLED market a niche market. In the long term, the OLED market will grow at a faster rate due to the low competency level of thin film transistor (TFT) plants. At the same time, the anticipated price stabilization of active matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) in a few years will increase the growth rate of the OLED market. The emergence of OLED TV will have an impact on the market only in the long term and it will remain a niche product until then.
OLEDs will face strong competition from LCDs. Although the performance benefits of OLEDs surpass LCDs, the decreasing cost of LCDs remains a key factor constraining the industry. The best strategy to overcome this will be the development of applications where OLEDs and LCDs can coexist, for example, in the backlight of an LCD panel.
"OLEDs can carve out a market niche since LCDs have greater mass appeal due to their lower price," comments Sengupta. "With declining prices, OLEDs might compete strongly with LCD technology in the future, but at present, LCDs have better market presence and penetration rate even though OLEDs offer superior technology."
To establish a significant market presence, OLED manufacturers should build on energy efficiency, improve resolutions and boost OLED life cycles. Over time, OLED technology will make a major impact on the overall electronics industry.
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