BOE to launch MicroOLED panel in 2nd half

BOE is planning to commercially launch a MicroOLED display in the second half of 2021, TheElec has learned.

The panel will be applied to products that support augmented reality and virtual reality viewing.

BOE had been developing MicroOLED since 2018 through Kunming BOE Display Technology, its joint venture with Yunnan province.

MicroOLED attaches OLED on silicon wafer instead of glass substrate, which allows it to realize super high resolution. OLED panel pixel sizes in smartphones and TV are around 40 to 300 micrometers. MicroOLED panel pixel sizes is a tenth of this at around 4 to 20 micrometers.

MicroOLED has response time of microseconds, which makes it ideal for AR and VR applications. 

Image: Sunic System

Image: Sunic System

South Korea-based Sunic Systems has supplied BOE with its deposition equipment used to manufacture the MicroOLED panel. In May of last year, the company singed a US$225 million supply deal with BOE.

Sunic Systems had said at the time that it expects high demand for its MicroOLED deposition equipment from launches of AR and VR devices by global IT firms going forward.

The company expects its MicroOLED deposition equipment to account for 40% of its sales in 2021. It accounted for 50% in 2020. 

Sunic Systems expects sales to increase this year from expanded investments into OLED by Chinese companies. The company posted sales of around 120 billion won in 2017 and 2018. But in 2019, this dropped to 88 billion won. In 2020, up to the third quarter, it posted sales of 36.1 billion won, down 20% from the same time period in 2019.

For MicroOLED technology, growth will hinge on contents for AR and VR. For instance, Samsung and Apple had applied 3D time of flight modules in their devices since 2019, which raised hope that more AR and VR contents will be launched, but this is yet to be realized. Samsung removed ToF module from the Galaxy Note20 series last year.

In 2019, LG Display had displayed its MicroOLED product at SID. Samsung Display have never unveiled a MicroOLED product so far.