Optics pundits have been crowing about AMOLED destroying LCD for a while now: they are thinner, brighter, more energy efficient and arguably offer better colors, higher contrast and deeper saturation than LCD. The biggest barrier stopping AMOLED from taking over as the smartphone display technology of choice has been price. Until now that is.
As predicted two years ago, it has only taken 24 months for AMOLED production costs to fall below that of LCD, according to new data from IHS Technology. Production costs in the first quarter for a 5-inch Full HD smartphone display are $14.30 for an AMOLED panel and $14.60 for an LCD display. In the fourth quarter of 2015, these figures were $17.10 and $15.70, respectively.
These figures are based on production costs of a LTPS LCD (Low Temperature Poly-Silicon Liquid Crystal Display), the most efficient type of Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD. While there is no data available on the production cost of QHD displays, Full HD is still the standard display definition for the vast majority of smartphone screens, barring the current crop of flagship devices.
With AMOLED production costs dropping below LCD for the first time, AMOLED panels will soon become the default display technology choice for manufacturers on their mid-range and entry-level devices as well. While this may not directly signal the end for LCD screens in the smartphone space, we are definitely going to be seeing a lot more AMOLED screens in the near future.