Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014 1:44 PM
Should we believe AUO's 513 ppi QHD claims; also: high resolution smartwatch display also announced
Taiwan's AU Optronics (AUO) -- the entity formed from the fusion of Acer Display and Unipac Optoelectronics Corp., and later Quanta Display -- has been a key player in the mobile displays market since its formation in 2001. In recent years price fixing accusations have set AUO back and the Taiwanese firm has been overshadowed by its South Korean competitors,
such as LG Display
Comp., Ltd. (
) and Samsung Display (the subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
But AUO appears to be bringing its A-game to the era of smartphone QHD (quad high definition) displays.
The company this week
a gorgeous 5.7-inch WQHD (2560x1440 pixel, 513 pixels per inch)
. A mere 0.57 mm thick, the display also packs advanced drivers for supporting super-precise multi-touch detection of up to 10 touch points simultaneously. AUO also announced a 1.6-inch smartwatch display -- which may be based on
the flexible OLED
display tech. that AUO has been working on.
While there's reason to get excited about AUO's claims of having the world's highest resolution OLED display and the first officially announced AMOLED/OLED QHD display, there's also plenty of cause for skepticism.
AUO has been gunning hard to join the elite ranks of display manufacturers capable of OLED mass production, a club that includes Samsung Display, LG Display, Sony Corp. (
) (Japan), and Sharp Corp. (
) (Japan). But it's been for AUO to move away from its breadwinning LCD display manufacturing technology, a technology that is approaching obsolescence in the high end market.
In 2012, AUO
reportedly abandoned plans
to upgraded its Generation 3.5 OLED fab in Taiwan for mass production, instead reserving it solely for research and development. With that decision, responsiblity for AUO's display future came to rest largely on a Generation 4.5 fab in Singapore, which had faced many delays in reaching sufficient production volumes.
Today that fab is reportedly still only getting yields of around 40 percent, and is just now submitting 720p (1280 x 720 pixel) smartphone panels to Chinese OEMs to try to win production bids. Meanwhile
companies like Sony
, Samsung, and LG already have 5-inch 1080p OLED/AMOLED panels on products in the wild and reportedly are seeing much higher yields.
AUO's OLED effort has struggled to reach production levels.
Thus don't be surprised if AUO is beat to market by its more succesful rivals. QHD panels are expected to be found in smartphones that goal on sale later this year, or at the latest, early next year. Next year will potentially bring the first round of
"4K" smartphone displays
, a mobile display technology that Samsung and others are currently running through the prototype phase.
While AUO deserves some criticism for its history of delays, it also deserves modest praise for actually completing OLED product (at 720p) that may reach actual handheld devices. By contrast Innolux Corp. (
) and RitDisplay, AUO's local Taiwanese competitors, both promised OLED, but
appear to have abandoned that push
having failed to make it out of the prototype phase.
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