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All of AMOLED-land is divided into two parts.

Part 1:  Samsung dominates production of smart-phone-sized AMOLED displayss, and is now doing the same for tablet-sized AMOLED displays. (The first Samsung Galaxy tablets with AMOLED displays are now available in the U.S. market.)

Part 2:  LG still struggles to make AMOLED TVs a mass-market product, but significant developments in manufacturing processes are needed before costs can come down enough for OLED-TV to be a true high-volume consumer product. LG is committed to achieving this goal, but the road to the mass market continues to be bumpy.

You would think that Samsung’s long-held position as king of the small-OLED hill would have invited some serious competition by now. There is some activity in China and Taiwan, but its modest scale hasn’t been enough to make an appreciable dent in Samsung’s dominance. But now, a significant Chinese player is making a major investment in AMOLED manufacturing.

Tianma's cell-phone-sized AMOLED prototype, as shown at SID 2014 in San Diego.  (Photo:  Ken Werner)

Tianma’s cell-phone-sized AMOLED prototype, as shown at SID 2014 in San Diego. (Photo: Ken Werner)

At SID 2014 in San Diego this past June, Tianma was showing several good-looking AMOLED prototypes, including a 4.3-inch

with 480×800 pixels, on-cell touch, 250 nits, and a claimed contrast ratio of over 10,000 (see photo); and a 5.5-inch with 720×1280 pioxels, 4-lane MIPI interface, 200 nits, and that same claimed contrast ratio of over 10,000.

Tianma’s Stephen Liu told me that Tianma is now building a Gen 5.5 AMOLED fab in China and expects to be ramping up commercial production of smart-phone and tablet sizes in mid-2015.

It’s worth saying that Tianma’s exhibit area was decidedly major league, and fully competitive in design and presentation with those of its first-tier competitors. Tianma combined its China-based Tianma and U.S.-based Tianma-NLT teams to design the booth and select the products and technologies to be presented. Tianma and NLT personnel said they worked hard and long, and were very pleased with the result.

The importance of North-American-style presentation in our market is not always clear to Chinese companies. That Tianma gets it, and was willing to expend significant human and monetary resources to present their competitive technologies in a fully professional manner, is impressive. I will be tracking Tianma more carefully in the future.

Ken Werner is Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, specializing in the display industry, manufacturing, technology, and applications, including mobile devices and television.  He consults for attorneys, investment analysts, and companies entering or repositioning themselves in industries related to displays and the products that use them.  You can reach him at kwerner@nutmegconsultants.com.

Posted by Ken Werner, July 30, 2014 2:37 PM

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About Ken Werner

Kenneth I. Werner is the founder and Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, which specializes in the display industry, display technology, display manufacturing, and display applications. He serves as Marketing Consultant for Tannas Electronic Displays (Orange, California) and Senior Analyst for Insight Media. He is a founding co-editor of and regular contributor to Display Daily, and is a regular contributor to HDTVexpert.com and HDTV Magazine. He was the Editor of Information Display Magazine from 1987 to 2005.