Samsung has a monopoly on AMOLED production. They started investing in the technology way before everyone else, and now they’re reaping the benefits. According to Taiwan Economic News, AUO is soon going to change that. They say that AUO will begin shipping 4.3 inch AMOLED panels in Q1 2013 and that HTC has already ordered all the panels due to come out of AUO’s factory in Linkou. Sony has expressed interest in the AMOLED panels as well.
Why is this important? Remember HTC’s 2010 flagship smartphone, the Desire? It started shipping with an AMOLED display, but then for reasons that were kept secret the company switched over to Super LCD. With hindsight, it’s pretty easy to see what happened. Samsung decided to use AMOLED as one of their key differentiators. Think about it, when was the last time you’ve seen a high end Samsung phone use LCD?
How many panels will AUO actually supply HTC? That’s a hard question to answer. We don’t know how many glass substrates their factory outputs, and we don’t know how many useful smartphone panels each substrate can produce. We’re sure that information will leak out sooner rather than later.
Will AUO’s panels deliver a resolution that’s better than the 960 x 540 resolution in HTC’s One S? That remains to be seen. We were big fans of the One S when it was announced, but we just couldn’t live with that display during day to day use.
The real question we want to see answered is what’s up with Samsung’s AMOLED division? Are they going to deliver a 1080p AMOLED smartphone panel to compete with the 1080p LCD panels from Sharp, JDI, and Innolux? It’ll be really embarrassing if everyone except Samsung announces a 1080p smartphone during the first half of next year.