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Wearable Devices Turning to OLED Displays

10 March 2016

As wearable applications grow in popularity, OEMs are increasingly turning to active-matrix organic light emitting diodes (AMOLEDs) as the display panel of choice in smartwatches, fitness monitors and other wearables, according to a new report from IHS.

Shipments of displays used in wearable devices are expected to reach 39 million this year, up from 34 million in 2015, IHS forecasts. Of these displays in 2015, six out of 10 displays used in wearables were AMOLED displays. Apple, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Microsoft have all adopted flexible AMOLED displays for their smartwatches. As a result of this increased adoption, unit shipments of flexible AMOLED displays for smartwatches are expected to increase from 23 million units in 2016 to 80 million in 2024, IHS says.

Wearable displays are expected to reach 118 million units by 2024. Source: IHSWearable displays are expected to reach 118 million units by 2024. Source: IHS“Smartwatch manufacturers are increasingly turning to AMOLED displays because they are thinner, lighter, have high color-performance and consume less power than other types of displays,” says Jerry Kang, principle analyst for emerging displays technologies and OLEDs at IHS. “This trend will continue in 2016, since the flexible AMOLED display free-form design process enables narrower form factors and even folding bezels.”

IHS says smartwatches are expected to continue to lead the wearable display market in the next few years with unit shipment growth forecast to maintain a compound annual growth rate of 22% from 2015. By 2024, wearable displays are expected to reach 118 million units. Even with this growth, however, smartwatch displays will only equal 5% of smartphone display shipments in that year.

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