Hot on the heels of a reported $3.5 billion acquisition of Sharp by Apple’s contract fabricator Foxconn, Sharp has reportedly begun setting up production lines dedicated to churning out AMOLED smartphone panels as Apple is said to be lining up suppliers to support its major move to outfit future iPhones with AMOLED screen technology.
According to a report Wednesday by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication, Sharp is setting up three production lines that should have total monthly capacity of 9.85 million 5.5-inch equivalent AMOLED panels.
Global shipments of AMOLED panels for smartphones will increase from 3.45 million units in 2016 to 10.24 million units in 2020 and further to 13.57 million units in 2025, Digitimes Research estimates.
“Sharp will set up one 4.5G and two 6G AMOLED production lines with monthly capacity of 13,000, 11,500 and 34,500 glass substrates respectively, with total monthly capacity of 9.85 million 5.5-inch equivalent panels,” said the report.
Sharp’s global market share for these panels is expected to rise from 1.1 percent in 2018, 6.2 percent in 2020, 10.0 percent in 2023 and 13.2 percent in 2015.
Samsung is currently the world’s top supplier of AMOLED panels with an estimated 90+ percent of the market. The South Korean company has long used its own SUPER AMOLED display technology for the Galaxy S series of smartphones.
AMOLED panels provide better much better visibility at direct sunlight than the traditional LCD IPS screens found on all iOS devices to date, in addition to crisper colors, deeper blacks and a significantly reduced power consumption.
The Apple Watch is currently the only Apple device that uses flexible OLED panels.