Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which can be used to create digital displays in television screens, computer monitors, and mobile phones, earned revenues of more than $1.69 billion in 2011, according to a report just released Mountain View, California-based Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert). The research firm predicts that the OLED market will reach $7.39 billion in 2016, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 percent.
In OLEDS, a film made of an organic compound emits light in response to an electric current. OLED displays can use either passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix (AMOLED) addressing schemes. AMOLEDs require a thin-film transistor backplane to switch each individual pixel on or off, but allow for higher resolution and larger display sizes.
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The new Frost & Sullivan report, “Analyzing Global Opportunities in the OLED Market,” contends that OLEDs have an advantage over liquid crystal displays (LCDs) because their OLED displays are thinner, lightweight and printable.
“As a matter of fact,” according to the analysts, “OLEDs are five times thinner than conventional LCDs because they are self-emissive/luminous and do not require additional backlighting. This feature results in lower power consumption than is needed by LCDs, as well as … enhanced space savings.”
Emissive displays also offer high contrast and a wide viewing angle (close to 180 degrees), which translates to high resolution and readability in various lighting conditions.
"New end-user applications—including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), car audio systems, digital cameras and watches—are projected to drive market growth," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nupur Sinha. "Lower production costs and higher performance will enable more applications, such as pagers, games, toys, point-of-sale systems, large-display TVs and notebook computers."
Despite the advantages of the OLED, there still are end-user concerns regarding short lifespan, high pricing, manufacturing complexity, efficiency and luminance. Organic matter used in the display is sensitive to oxygen and moisture, which could destroy OLED displays if the screen is left unprotected. What’s more, manufacturers have yet to produce a full-color OLED display that can be produced in quantity, at maximum cost-efficiency.
Although OLEDs offer performance benefits, their pricing is higher than that of established, competing technologies such as LCDs and plasma displays. The OLED market is in its early growth stage, and prices are likely to stabilize only after commercialization. However, small-volume manufacturers are against price drops because they have not reached a break-even, economy-of-scale level in their businesses.
"OLED manufacturers should focus on energy-efficiency and better resolution, along with longer OLED lifecycles, for a noteworthy market presence," commented Sinha. "Over time, OLEDs are expected to have a huge impact on the overall electronics industry."
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Edited by Rich Steeves