After the boom and bust era of the late 1990s when OLEDs were tipped to be “the next big thing” only to turn out not to be, the display format finally seems set for a rebirth into the mainstream.

According to iSuppli Corporation, which tracks the OLED display industry, the OLED industry will experience rapid growth of 36 per cent annual growth rate from 2007-2013, with the most advanced OLED technology, active matrix (AMOLEDs) making up the majority.

Sony makes waves

The arrival of Sony’ XEL-1 OLED TV has spurred on development in this industry, as it is the first time a company has released a large-screen OLED display into the market, albeit at a very high price point.

It is believed global shipments of AMOLEDs for applications including TVs, mobile handsets and PMP players will nearly quadruple in 2008, rising to 10.2 million units, up 294.2 per cent from 2.6 million units in 2007.

 AM-OLED revenue in 2008 will rise by 237 per cent to reach $225 million (£115 million), up from $67 million (£34 million) in 2006. By 2013, global AM-OLED shipments and revenue will rise to 132.4 million units and $2.8 billion (£1.4 billion).

“The key factors determining for the success of OLED in the market will be the display industry’s capability to address key issues like manufacturing costs, material lifetime and efficiency,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, principal analyst for mobile displays at iSuppli Corp. “Furthermore, given that OLEDs are LCD replacements, the technology at least initially will be subjected to the price pressures placed on it by competing LCD panel products.”