Korea Display Forum Highlights Trends and Projections
UniPixel recently had the opportunity to present at the Korea Display Forum in Seoul, South Korea, hosted by IHS Markit, which is one of the largest market research firms in the world. UniPixel was a co-sponsor of the event alongside LG Display and Samsung Display. This was an opportunity to introduce UniPixel and our XTouch sensors to a new audience gathered in Korea to learn about the latest trends in and projections for the display industry.
Display-related topics ran the gamut from small screens for mobile phones and wearable devices all the way to the largest TVs and digital signage monitors. Industry analysts and invited speakers discussed multiple aspects of the display supply chain, from manufacturing by region to core technology development and applications.
There were two areas of particular interest:
- Projections regarding brand strategies of companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple targeted at the 2-in-1 convertible PC market, given the significant adoption of UniPixel’s XTouch sensors in these types of devices in 2016.
- The development status of flexible, bendable and foldable displays, given the flexible properties of UniPixel’s metal mesh sensors
Brand name product strategy in the 2-in-1 market
In the 2-in-1 market, Microsoft and Apple compete in the 10.x-inch detachable segment with iPad Pro and Surface 3, in the 12.x-inch detachable segment with iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4, and in the 13.x-inch clamshell segment with Macbook Pro and Surfacebook. Will Microsoft also develop new 13.x-inch and 15.x-inch Surfacebooks to extend their competition with Apple in those segments? That was the very question speculated on by the industry analysts participating in the conference.
Of interest is not only how these specific brands roll out their product strategies, but also the influence those strategies have on the rest of the PC industry, who are among UniPixel’s most important customers and prospects.
Flexible displays will need flexible touch sensors
At least twelve different display makers from Korea, Taiwan and China have demonstrated some form of AMOLED-based flexible display at various trade shows and conferences. It’s estimated that the industry will ship slightly over 59M flexible displays in 2016, the majority in 5.x-inch handsets from Korea.
IHS forecasts the flexible display market will grow from 138M units in 2017 to over 400M units in 2020, with form factors ranging from flexible but flat, to curved but static, to fully bendable and rollable. This market is expected to initially be dominated by Korean suppliers with Chinese manufacturers coming online with a one- to two-year delay.
From UniPixel’s perspective, a flexible, bendable display will require a flexible, bendable touch sensor. Given the size and rapid growth of the market for flexible displays, there will be fierce competition to develop components to support the market and win market share of the flexible sensor solution for these displays. We expect the competition will come both from display vendors themselves as well as third-party technology and component providers such as UniPixel.
As UniPixel continues its product and technology development, this is an area that the company will pay close attention to.