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HTC to switch to LCDs for phones due to AMOLED crunch

updated 08:25 pm EDT, Fri June 25, 2010

Samsung AMOLED shortage sparks HTC switch

HTC will have to switch many if not all of its phones from AMOLED displays to LCDs due to a supply crisis at Samsung, Korean cell carrier KT said this week. Samsung's insistence on reserving the already scarce supply for the Super AMOLEDs in the Galaxy S has left HTC with no choice but to use LCDs for the Desire, Droid Incredible and Nexus One, three of its most important phones. The current shortfall was enough to push back the Korean Nexus One launch a month to July.

All of the phones will instead use Sony's high-grade Super TFT LCD to dampen any perceived loss in quality.

The switch may be crucial not just to HTC but to Android as a whole. As the most important Android phone producer in the world, HTC may have stalled sales in the US and Europe by choosing AMOLED and constricting supply. Verizon has claimed it could sell twice as many Droid Incredibles if it had ready supply, but instead it has had to tell customers that any new orders won't ship for a month. In Korea, the delay could be enough to negate any early move advantage for HTC on KT, which also carries the iPhone and will now have the iPhone 4 the same time as the Nexus One arrives.

The decision also explains Apple's choice to go with an IPS-based LCD for the iPhone 4 instead of the AMOLED that some had thought it needed to use. While the Retina Display may have spurred on shortages of its own, Apple is using the much larger manufacturing resources for LCD and won't be as prone to losing supply as it would with AMOLED. Technical advantages also play a part, as AMOLED has better color reproduction and battery life but is very hard to see outdoors and is usually expensive.

Production of AMOLEDs may not improve by a significant amount until July 2011, when Samsung's 5.5-generation plant goes online and it can make 10 times as many screens as it can today. Samsung has a monopoly on AMOLED with 98 percent of production and thus doesn't have a viable alternative if it runs out of displays for anyone else. [via OLED-Display]

by MacNN Staff



  1. driven

    Joined: Dec 1969



    First, Samsung publicly had a hissy fit that Apple didn't go with AMOLED. Now we find out that they can't even supply those who DID go with their tech. Not well played Samsung.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I was sure the reason that Apple didn't go

    with AMOLED's was because there would be a scarcity of those displays. Apple can't afford to take a chance with low production yield parts. The trouble with these analysts and pundits is that they don't know a damn thing about running a company. All they know is how to criticize a company that does, by saying they should be doing this or that and have little knowledge of parts availability for tens of millions of future devices.

    Apple is now sitting pretty and hopefully with a relatively ample supply of the IPS LCD displays. A month loss of sales is very damaging when you have a hot Android product because with so many Android handsets being introduced, you lose a window of opportunity which won't necessarily be recovered.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Supply is not the reasib

    The image quality—most notably, color depth—is the most important reason Apple did not go with the AMOLED.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969



    maybe they can see what they've been missing by going with AMOLED. Honestly, compare the color fidelty of a few photos to an iPhone or a computer and (blech) see for yourself.

    Anyone else think Apple also went with LCD because they figured the technology (with their help) would improve enough in a few years? The iPhone 4 screen is just kookoo great looking. I haven't checked stuff like the deepness of the blacks where AMOLED has been better though.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How sad is that?

    It's bad enough how fragmented the Android platform is already, with the multitude of handsets out there. Now you have fragmentation inside the same model. How annoying would that be to get a lesser screen after making a buying decision based in part on the AMOLED screen as a selling point?

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too funny.... and pathetic

    Great to hear about your problems HTC! You steal other's technology, and are so poorly managed that you make bonehead moves like this. And why? Because you ignorantly think it's a feature race. You just don't get it, like all the other idiot handset makers out there just trying to copy and catch up, but don't know how to truly innovate on their own.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AMOLED truth?

    Not ready or mature enough to use. Outdoors? Forget it.

  1. lysolman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Anybody noticed

    Has anybody noticed that there is not one, s***, non-brick like Android device on the market?

    It bothers me, what if I have to get one one of these days.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AMOLED is still beta technology

    Just barely average resolution, inaccurate colors, high cost, low production volumes, and poor bright-light visibility?

    Not ready for prime time. It's a desperate move by Samsung to differentiate themselves from the other generic Android handset makers. I wonder how the droidbois will react to this...

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