According to a Reuters report, Japan Display has announced it will start manufacturing organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels for smartphones and tablets in order to compete with its South Korean rivals amid reports of Apple planning to adopt the technology for its future iPhones:
“We will take advantage of our advanced thin-film transistor technology in developing OLED screens,” Akio Takimoto, said chief of Japan Display’s research center.
The announcements also comes as Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Japan Display’s biggest shareholder and state-backed fund, is in talks to invest in Sharp Corp and merge its display unit with Japan Display, according to sources.
Last March, Japan Display confirmed its plans to build a $1.4 billion plant, in an effort to become Apple’s sole supplier of LCDs.
Currently, Japan Display supplies only a limited quantity of smartphone displays to Apple due to tough competition from South Korean-based LG Display. Media reports say Apple may adopt OLED technology for its iPhone as early as in 2018, with LG Display and the panel-making unit of Samsung Electronics likely to be considered as supplier candidates.
OLED displays have advantages over LCD, as they do not require backlights, which allows them to be thinner and even curved, though manufacturing costs are significantly higher than liquid crystal displays.