Last week, Foxconn signed a deal to acquire 66% of Sharp. As part of the deal, $1.8 billion will be allocated towards OLED display technology with a goal to start mass production in 2018, according to a report from Digitimes.
Update: The Wall Street Journal has chimed in to say that Sharp will start supplying OLED panels in 2019. It is not clear if the confusion stems from calender vs. fiscal year.
One more OLED player
LG and Samsung are the two only major players involved in OLED technology at the moment; LG mostly in TVs; Samsung most in mobile displays. Sharp/Foxconn could soon join them.
Of the 389 billion yen ($3.49 billion USD) Foxconn last week invested in Sharp, 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion USD) is earmarked for OLED display technology, according to a report by Digitimes. As we speculated in last week’s report the main motivation behind Foxconn’s takeover was indeed to gain access of Sharp’s advanced display technology.
Sharp has exhibited OLED prototypes on several occasions since 2012. Below is a flexible 3.4-inch OLED display with 549x960 pixels that Sharp exhibited at CES 2013 in Las Vegas.
First OLEDs in 2018
Digitimes claims that Sharp/Foxconn will begin shipping OLED panels for smartphones in 2018, in time for the rumored OLED-based Apple iPhone. Sharp/Foxconn will begin shipping OLED panels for tablets and notebooks in 2021 and OLED panels for TVs in the same year.
The company will use IGZO as the back panel technology for its OLED panels. Sharp has used IGZO transistors in LCDs for some years now. IGZO-based transistors have20-50 times the electron mobility of other types of transistor materials, meaning that power consumption can be reduced while resolution and pixel response can be increased.
Foxconn has not confirmed all the details but Mr Gou of Foxconn said that “I am committed to make speedy investments in Sharp to help develop the next-generation display technology,”