"But OLED production requires an entire infrastructure that just isn't there yet."
Excellent point concerning the near term. The weak OLED infrastructure reminds me of how land that was once too far away from the center of town could become more desirable as the center of town gets bigger. As other technologies reach their limits, OLED could be a logical next step (if I understand it correctly).
@Barbara: I agree with your assertion that AMOLED displays offer a superior viewing experience, but not under all conditions. I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy SII phone and the display is wonderful...indoors. However, sunlight almost completely washes out the screen outdoors. That will be less of an issue with for an indoor TV application, but window light/glare is still a consideration.
I also agree with your statement about the consumer sales will only pick up once the price of an AMOLED TV gets within that magic 20% premium range. This is a problem not only for OLED panel manufacturers, but for all high-tech industries (except for possibly drug manufacturing).
Basically, my premise is simple: Technology has come so far in recent years that premium-worthy product differentiation is much harder to come by now. For example, color was a great improvement over black-and-white. Digital signal was a great enhancement over analog signal. Flash > CD > cassette. And so on. However, how much of an improvement (to the average consumer) is 1080p over 720p? Blu-Ray over DVD? LED over LCD or Plasma? Only deep-pocketed consumers can find the value in the premium products, and those consumers might sit on the sidelines during a down economy.
So how are high-tech companies to succeed in developing the "next big thing" when competing as much against their own "last big thing" as each other? The ROI on such significant R&D is not good. I guess they can use engineered obsolescence...effectively eliminating the old design by forcing the components to become obsolete. Or shortening the MTBF to force a quicker product turnover in the market. But neither of those are attractive options.
Please understand, I don't think the world is flat. And, yes, we really did need more than 64K of RAM. But, I would be curious as to your thoughts on the future success of such technology development efforts in an established market such as TV. Thanks.
jbond: I agree. I remember that by 1995, everyone in the US was going to own an HDTV. The reality was closer to 2005 when LCD prices came down. As good as OLED technology is, I'd double the ETA of any mass-market OLED estimates.
The key to large growth in the LCD market is clearly going to be in emerging markets and not the U.S. OLED is definitely going to be the future. The question is when can they get a functional supply chain set up to bring the prices within reach of consumers. The OLED technology is seeing millions in R&D dollars, particularly by Corning Inc and Dow Chemical to name a few. The fact that OLED can be used on a flexible surface should make for some very unique opportunities.
@Rich: I think competition will force the prices of OLEDs down, and right now, the supply and manufacturing base is so tiny, it is going to take a long time. Samsung's biggest competitor, I believe, is LG. Both companies were instrumental in bringing LCD prices down, part through manufacturig efficiencies and part through head-to-head price competition. But OLED production requires an entire infrastructure that just isn't there yet. The materials (inks, actually) aren't common and not many companies produce them; there are few OLED factories set up; and there are yield issues with larger-sized screens.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.