Smartphone vendors including Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi are planning to adopt mini LED displays in the second half of 2018 and have asked Taiwan-based makers to start producing mini LED backlighting in June, according to a DigiTimes report.
The vendors speculate Apple may extend use of AMOLED panels to its iPhone devices to be launched in 2018, occupying more of Samsung Display's AMOLED production, the sources said. While Samsung Electronics is showcasing a 146-inch modular micro LED-backlit TV at CES 2018, commercial application of micro LED TV applications is quite unlikely to take off in 2018, the sources noted.
It's believed that the number of mini LED chips for 6-inch smartphone panels can be reduced from 9,000 to 4,000 through technological improvement and product design, cutting production costs. Epistar, an LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker, says that if mini LED backlighting is used in 15 million smartphones this year (1% penetration) then global demand will reach 60 billion mini LED chips. That's about 100,000 mini LED epitaxial wafers a month.
Apple is said to have been 'keen' in the development of micro LED technology following its acquisition of LuxVue in 2014. , Micro LED performs better than mini LED but is more difficult to produce. The company reportedly had plans for a trial production run of Micro LED displays at the end of 2017.
For now, it's believed that Apple will place orders with LG for OLED displays to diversify its supply which is currently dependent on Samsung.
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