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Small screens picture quality
Small displays seen as drivers for picture quality

16 May 2011 | Rasmus Larsen |

The small display segment – characterized as screens for mobile devices – has experienced significant growth in 2010. The most interesting tendency, however, is that small screens are pushing manufacturers to better-quality LCD panels, DisplaySearch says.

Small screens seen as drivers for innovation

The segment for PC monitors has seen very little innovation in the past few years and most PC monitors today come with cheap TN panels. Prices for high quality monitors are too high but consumers seem to be willing to pay extra for better displays in smartphones and tablets.

Research firm DisplaySearch has released their annual small display market trend analysis that covers display trends for mobile phones, GPS devices, cameras, tablets and so on. First of all, the analysis shows that 2010 was a very good year. Especially the phone segment has seen strong growth. The overall market for small displays grew 23% compared to 2009, measured in quantity.

Small display segment
The small display segment grew 23 % from 2009 to 2010. Source: DisplaySearch

An even more uplifting trend is that fact that more and more quality panels are produced. Even though the inferior TN panels are still popular and cheap, IPS panels types have experienced growth; one of the reasons being the success of the iPhone 4 and iPad. LG is the manufacturer of IPS panels that offer wide viewing angles and fairly good picture quality. Samsung has a variant of the IPS panel type called PLS that has the same characteristics as IPS.

Small display segment
Better panels such as IPS and FFS see growth. Source: DisplaySearch

DisplaySearch also predicts that the VA / ASV panel segment will experience growth. VA is produced by Samsung and AU Optronics (and others). ASV is produced by Sharp who have seen healthy growth based on their 3D panels for systems like Nintendo 3DS. Both panel types feature the highest contrast but more narrow viewing angles than IPS.
OLED is not included in the analysis, but DisplaySearch says that Samsung has strong growth in production of OLEDs in 2010.

Small displays have pushed innovation and picture quality in the past. Apple’s iPhone 4 was a step forward in pixel resolution and Samsung recently unveiled a 10-inch LCD panel with 2560x1600 resolution. Samsung is also currently ramping up an OLED plant.
Here at FlatpanelsHD we look forward to seeing TN panels in the grave and experience the rise of OLED as the new dominant display technology.

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