Device manufacturers are moving away from rigid organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels used in smartphones and wearable devices, to flexible active-matrix-organic-light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels. IHS predicts that this year flexible AMOLED panel shipments will amount to more than 11 percent of rigid AMOLED shipments.
"When growth in the smartphone market started to slow in 2013, smartphone makers began to adopt lower-priced, higher-quality panels and AMOLED displays lost their competitive edge," said Jerry Kang, principal analyst, emerging display technologies and OLED panels.
"Leading panel manufacturers are now developing flexible AMOLED displays to differentiate their offerings from rigid LCD and AMOLED displays used in smartphones and wearable devices. These panels are especially useful in wearable devices, which must be light, thin and consume less power than non-wearable devices."
Much of this shift is being driven by Samsung Display and LG Display, both of which are pursuing enhanced technological differentiation for LCD panels. Both companies are also building flexible OLED panels into devices such as the G Flex 2, the Galaxy Note Edge and the Galaxy S6 Edge.
"Flexible OLED panels are used to add value, and as a way to differentiate products from traditional rigid panels," Kang said. "Flexible OLED panel makers should now focus on providing a more advanced form factor--and a better user experience--than what is available in current products."