Taipei, Wednesday, July 30, 2014 05:22 (GMT+8)
partly cloudy
Taipei
27°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.

Content from this blog post was provided by the Digitimes Research Tracking team, which focuses on shipment data and market trends in the global mobile device supply chain. Digitimes Research provides quarterly tracking services for market sectors such as Global Tablet, China Smartphone, China Smartphone AP, China Touch Panel, Taiwan ICT and Taiwan FPD. Click here for more information about Digitimes Research Tracking services.

Realtime news
  • Phison reports strong earnings for 1H14

    Bits + chips - Newswatch | 9h 22min ago

  • Hermes Microvision to see revenues stay flat in 3Q14

    Before Going to Press | 8h 33min ago

  • Delta Electronics 2Q14 gross margin, net profit hit records

    Before Going to Press | 8h 34min ago

  • Huawei ships 34 million smartphones in 1H14

    Before Going to Press | 8h 46min ago

  • Taiwan market: BenQ 1H14 LCD TV sales up 20% due to low-blue-light models

    Before Going to Press | 8h 47min ago

  • Commentary: China antitrust probe could affect Qualcomm performance

    Before Going to Press | 8h 48min ago

  • Demand for tablet touch panels decreasing, say Taiwan makers

    Before Going to Press | 9h 10min ago

  • Adlink develops 3D intelligent vision-aided positioning system in cooperation with ITRI

    Before Going to Press | 9h 24min ago

  • Digitimes Research: Smartphone AP shipments grow over 13% sequentially in China in 2Q14

    Before Going to Press | 9h 41min ago

  • China market: Colorful Technology poses competitive threat to MSI, ASRock

    Before Going to Press | 9h 42min ago

  • UMC to post single-digit revenue growth in 3Q14

    Before Going to Press | 9h 43min ago

  • Taiwan notebook ODMs to benefit from HP, Dell sales in North America

    Before Going to Press | 9h 43min ago

  • Huawei Device sees high growth in 1H14 handset shipments

    Before Going to Press | 9h 44min ago

  • Sales for mini versions of flagship smartphones short of expectations

    Before Going to Press | 9h 45min ago

  • Digitimes Research: Taiwan digital camera shipments in 2Q14 up 43.3% sequentially

    Before Going to Press | 9h 46min ago

  • Global market share for iPad may slip to below 25% in 2H14

    Before Going to Press | 9h 47min ago

  • Acer tops US LCD monitor retail market in 1H14

    Before Going to Press | 9h 48min ago

  • Huawei Device to launch Ascend Mate 3 4G smartphone, says report

    Before Going to Press | 9h 49min ago

Pause
 | 
View more
2014 global mobile application processor market forecast
  • 2014 global high brightness LED market, trends and shipment forecast

    For the global LED lighting market, the market size will reach US$25.82 billion in 2014 or a market penetration rate of 23.4%. This is attributable to exponential shipment growth for light bulbs, tubes, and directional lamps.

  • 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.