Rapidly rising sales of smart phones and tablet PCs in 2010 will cause the global market for small- and medium-sized Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD panels to expand at its fastest pace in three years, according to the market research firm iSuppli Corp.
Global shipments of small/medium TFT LCD panels, which are advanced types of displays used in sophisticated mobile devices like smart phones and tablet PCs—as well as broad range of other products—are set to rise by 28.1 percent in 2010 to reach 2.3 billion units, up 28.1 percent from 1.8 billion in 2009.
This will represent the highest level of growth for the market since 2007, when shipments rose by 49.8 percent.
“Sales of smart phones and tablets are booming in 2010 courtesy of the iPhone, the iPad and a range of competing products,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director, small and medium displays, for iSuppli. “Because such devices focus on delivering a high-quality user experience, many are employing TFT-LCD displays that offer bright, sharp images—a move that represents a boon for the suppliers of these displays.”
Global smart phone shipments are set to rise by 35.5 percent in 2010, according to iSuppli. Meanwhile, tablet PC shipments will grow by a stunning 787.3 percent, driven almost entirely by Apple Inc.’s iPad.
Inspired by the iPhone 4, smart phone makers are adopting TFT LCDs using In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. IPS supports a wider viewing angle and better picture quality in terms of presentation of color than a conventional LCD. It also consumes less electricity.
All TFT-LCD suppliers now are making alliances or developing their own technology so that they can offer IPS displays to their smart phone and tablet customers.
Meanwhile, a competing advanced display technology known as the Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) also is experiencing rapid growth in the small/medium display market, iSuppli’s electronic display research indicates. AMOLEDs are expanding because of the rise of the Android smart phone market.
Growth in TFT LCD shipments will slow in 2011 and beyond as the expansion of the smart phone and tablet markets cools to more normal levels.