At a recent conference in Europe, Andrew Murray of iSuppli/ Stanford Resources gave an excellent tour de force of the OLED market in contrast to some other speakers giving largely a reading from their current catalogues. Small area OLEDs made by small molecule processes are now firmly in the market to the extent that they rarely command a price premium and iSuppli confidently predict a global market of $3.3 billion for all forms of OLED in 2010 with mobile telephones the prime market. No innovative marketing is needed as yet because they seem to be able to get away with replacing existing displays using such advantages as wider viewing angle. Primarily, that means colour active matrix displays. However, LCD displays have so many markets overall that they see growth as well. "OLED is not taking existing market share from LCD. It is taking some of the market growth."
He sees large molecule technology eventually creating a market for displays bigger than six inches but we would note that that would require innovative marketing on the part of the OLED industry and its outlets because wallpaper television and active matrix pasted billboards etc simply do not exist today.
iSuppli observed that Kodak has the key intellectual property for small molecule but its patents are running out so it is going to a manufacturing business model whereas the opposite is true of CDT with large molecule technology so it is sticking to a licensing model.
Litrex (now 50% owned by CDT), Nanolayers, Nanosys, Nanonex, PARC and Plastic Logic have what he sees as the most promising future display-related technologies, these being liquid based. He was not optimistic about flexible displays. He thinks hat they may be piloted in 2007 but it will be after 2010 before they are fully commercialised. Most players are planning to launch into niche applications "because they do not know what the killer application may be".
He is puzzled why large companies such as Merck and Dow are involved in OLED materials because "the whole industry will only need a bathtub full of the stuff". However, he did believe they will move into profit - probably high profit - on OLED materials.
iSuppli has done a report on the flexible displays marketplace and it is currently preparing a report on the market for display production equipment. He summarised with:
- The OLED display market will pick up as active matrix AMOLED enters $429 million in 2004, $772 million in 2005, $3.3 billion in 2010.
- Recommend no new investment in passive matrix PMOLED
- Small molecule established and dominant in small sizes
- Polymer may do well in in large sizes but it is still 3-4 years from a major market such as television.
- Flexible displays are just leaving the laboratory and development of manufacturing processes, equipment etc will take at least several years.
- Organic semiconductors need further development in mobility and stability to serve the flexible display market.
- There is time for this because other aspects need development too.