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Samsung's AMOLED production not up to snuff for iPhone?

updated 07:55 am EDT, Wed May 26, 2010

Samsung couldn't keep up with Apple display needs

Apple had considered an AMOLED display for the iPhone but rejected it due to a mix of supply and technology problems, insiders claimed Wednesday. The American company had talked to Samsung Mobile Display but found that its AMOLED production capacity was well below what it would need. Even if Samsung devoted its entire AMOLED production to the iPhone, it could only handle 50 to 60 percent of all the orders, the sources said.

AMOLED displays are increasingly common on Samsung's own phones as well as those from HTC, but both companies have much smaller portions of the smartphone market. Samsung uses the organic displays in some of its feature phones, but only in smaller numbers.

The displays themselves also wouldn't be practical for Apple's goals, according to Digitimes Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. AMOLED screens in a mobile size can cost $34 to $38 to make where an IPS (in-plane switching) panel like the rumored 960x640 iPhone example would cost $20. A low-accuracy TN (twisted nematic) panel like most mobile displays costs $10.

Also, Samsung is believed to still be using Nouvoyance's PenTile technique to develop its AMOLED screens, which may be considered a negative for Apple. As seen in HTC's Nexus One, Desire and Droid Incredible, the matrix display approach has fewer sub-pixels than usual and creates a "dotted" effect that could be harder to read than either a more accurate AMOLED or an LCD.

Kuo also claims to know that the CDMA iPhone is real, but further behind in development than expected. It's currently in the relatively early Engineering Verification Test (EVT) stage and would still have to go through the Design Verification Test (DVT) and Process Verification Test (PVT) stages before it was ready for production. While the analyst wouldn't rule out production in the August or September timeframes rumored earlier, he thought 2011 was more likely.

The lost iPhone prototype in the Bay Area, and possibly some or all of the Vietnamese leaks, were DVT-stage GSM models.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is the problem that pundits don't

    seem to understand when it comes to putting newer tech on a product such as the iPhone. Apple just can't afford to have constant supply chain problems as it would be too damaging for their one product to come to a complete halt in sales. The way analysts are bitching now about Apple not being able to keep up with iPad demand and it's probably only due to very-high demand and not necessarily parts shortage.

    So, one part from one manufacturer is just too risky for Apple to deal with and I think they are right about not using some cutting edge tech for a product that will have to be produced reliably in the tens of millions of units.

    Android handsets will continue to have all the latest tech since one particular model won't have the high production rates and even if they s**** up, the device will be buried and a new model will be introduced in a month.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    also the tech

    There is a tiny mention of "tech" issues as well, and the source rightly concentrates on what they know best, which is the financial and supply side of things, but the "technological problems" are actually of paramount importance to Apple and they have said so several times. Apple will *never* support the use of a crappy screen in it's products and the current OLED technology is far behind the advanced IPS panel they use on several fronts.

    OLED screens cannot reproduce accurate colour, and are barely visible in daylight even compared to the current iPhone panel, let alone the advanced one they are debuting on the iPhone 4/HD. The only technological advantage they have is higher contrast. Why would Apple ever replace a superior screen with an inferior one merely on the basis of price even if the supply was there? People who believe this don't know much about how Apple designs products at all.

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AMOLED is Rubbish....

    It will be years before you see a colour-accurate AMOLED. I've looked at pictures on a few Androids and the pictures all seem washed out. It's hard (or humanly impossible) to see the difference between different shades of the same colour on the screen. Someone displayed their holiday photos on their Android and they looked like they came out of a cartoon!

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