Chinese Smartphone Makers Plan for Mini LED Supply as Apple Expected to Control Majority of OLED Production This Year

Apple's domination of the OLED supply chain is one of the reasons why three Chinese smartphone makers are seeking out alternative display technology in future handsets, according to a report today by DigiTimes.

Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi are planning to adopt mini LED-backlit panels in smartphones launched later in 2018. The three companies believe that Apple "may extend use of AMOLED panels" to iPhones coming in 2018 and occupy even more of Samsung Display's production of the OLED displays.


Apple's entry in smartphone OLED displays began with the manufacturing of the iPhone X last year and is expected to increase in 2018 with the second-generation iPhone X and 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus," which should lead Apple to significantly increase OLED display orders thanks to the larger size. The company has also implemented OLED displays into the Apple Watch.

Instead of attempting to fight for OLED display supply against Apple, the China-based smartphone makers are turning towards mini LED this year. The companies have reportedly asked Taiwan-based suppliers to begin producing mini LED backlighting in June 2018 in anticipation of products that would debut in the second half of 2018. Industry sources noted that technological advances in mini LED product designs have the potential to cut production costs, further boosting the smartphone makers' readiness to adopt the technology.

Besides Samsung Display, a report earlier in the month suggested that Apple will add LG Display to its OLED supply chain to help build 6.5-inch panels for the iPhone X Plus. Samsung was the sole OLED supplier for the iPhone X in 2017, and it's predicted that the company will increase supply of OLED panels to Apple with between 180 and 200 million OLED displays in 2018 (for the 5.8-inch device), up from an estimated 50 million in 2017.

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6 weeks ago

Nice way to spin a story. OLED is "old tech" as far as cutting edge displays go. The next future display technology will be mini LED.

What? The next future display tech won't be mini LED. I think what you meant was micro LED. Not the same thing. micro LED's are self-illuminating. mini LED's require a backlight (as mentioned in the article.)

No one uses "cutting edge" displays anyway. Cutting edge doesn't scale. It's why micro LED is still rumored to be 3-5 years away from mainstream adoption. Ironically, you can get a peak at micro LED at CES with "The Wall". It's a 146" micro LED modular panel.
Rating: 15 Votes
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6 weeks ago
Uh oh... adding LG to the suppliers of OLED? I can already see the threads now...
Rating: 3 Votes
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6 weeks ago

Mini or Micro LED? I’m confused. o_O

They are two distinct product categories. Mini LED (I've never heard that term before this article) requires a backlight. Micro LED is self illuminating.
Rating: 2 Votes
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6 weeks ago

Nice way to spin a story. OLED is "old tech" as far as cutting edge displays go. The next future display technology will be mini LED.


The age of a product category is irrelevant. What matters is comparing the abilities of the current generation of products.
Rating: 2 Votes
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6 weeks ago

Micro LED is the future. mLED. I have no idea what this crap is. Sounds like marketing speak to make people want old display tech again because these companies can't compete with what Apple is paying per OLED.


Without a major manufacturing breakthrough, micro LED is still years away from being viable tech for smartphone resolution displays. (Which is why I call it, "The liquid metal of displays". It sounds cool, but isn't usable in mass production.)

An advantage of mini LED backlit LCDs is that they get much of the power savings and black levels of OLED, while mostly keeping the lower cost of LCD.
Rating: 1 Votes
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6 weeks ago

I believe all the Apple Stores that have been updated to have the gigantic ~40 foot television are also micro-LEDs. So you can go to an Apple store and check them out. In my personal opinion, both the OLED display in the iPhone X and the micro-LED televisions in Apple stores seem to have less color saturation than simple IPS displays. They look very washed out to me. Maybe they're just calibrated to "bland".

I believe this is incorrect. Those aren't micro LED. They are standard commercial displays.
Rating: 1 Votes
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6 weeks ago
Nice way to spin a story. OLED is "old tech" as far as cutting edge displays go. The next future display technology will be mini LED.
Rating: 1 Votes
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