Samsung leading AMOLED race while boosting small display market

While Samsung continues to drive up demand for AMOLED displays on its mobile gadgets, the small and medium-sized panel market is growing steadily again.

Samsung is the current leader when it comes to driving up demand for the AMOLED display market, according to IHS iSuppli.

That's primarily thanks to the fact that Samsung has the largest manufacturing capacity among mobile device OEMs, with LG playing catch up right now.

As Samsung and LG, among other manufacturers, invest in AMOLED technology, that's propelling the growth of the small and medium display markets overall. (For reference, IHS analysts defined these displays as panels measuring 10 inches diagonally or smaller.)

Total shipments of small and medium display panels on everything from tablets to digital cameras toppled 186.8 million units in February -- up 9 percent from 171.3 million units in January. However, it's worth pointing out that jump in February was the first increase the market had seen after a four-month slump.

Nevertheless, Vinita Jakhanwal, director for small & medium displays at IHS, posited in the report that this increase is just the first of many big things for AMOLED this year.

Long considered a nascent technology, AMOLED is coming of age in 2012, with strong demand for the display from Android-based smartphones helping to drive the growth of the overall LCD-dominated SMD market. Display manufacturers are increasing their AMOLED manufacturing, making the new technology more available and allowing it to proliferate across a range of smartphone models from various brands.

Yet when you consider the material prices of these displays, it might actually come as a suprise that mobile OEMs are gravitating towards AMOLED.

The average price of an AMOLED panel on a mobile phone was $54 in February -- significantly higher than a comparable LTPS LCD capacitive touch screen for $42. Perhaps it's just refreshing to see that mobile OEMs are more interested in quality, but AMOLED is becoming a stronger selling point to the end customer these days too.

Rising smartphone and tablet sales are benefiting other parts manufacturers as well. A recent report from NPD In-Stat found that increasing adoption of mobile devices is expected to boost the mobile processor sector at a rate of 22 percent each year through 2016.