Japan Display to make midsize OLEDs for tablets and PCs by 2025

Japan Display (JDI) will enter the 14-inch OLED panel market for use in tablets and personal computers, aiming to begin mass production by around 2025.

JDI’s output had been limited to 1.4-inch OLEDs for smartwatches due to unevenness in screen brightness for larger panels, but technological improvements have overcome that hurdle to pave the way for producing midsize models. Japan Display will seek orders from IT companies and device manufacturers in the U.S. and Asia.

The company unveiled its proprietary eLEAP organic light-emitting diode panel to customers at a Shanghai exhibition in late August. The improved technology enables stable control of image quality, with twice the brightness and three times longer life than conventional products.

The midsize panels can be produced at a lower cost because of a simplified process for attaching the luminescent material to the substrate, which creates less waste material than in the past. They will be targeted toward two-in-one devices that serve as both a tablet and a PC, as well as toward in-vehicle systems.

JDI was formed in 2012 by integrating the businesses for small and midsize LCD displays of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi. The company supplied liquid crystal display panels for the Apple iPhone, but performance deteriorated when Apple changed the panels it used from LCD to OLED.

JDI also was working on OLED, but had been unable to mass-produce in sizes larger than those for smartwatches. It aims to quickly establish a mass production system for midsize panels of 10 inches or larger using the new technology, with an eye to developing the business into a new earnings pillar.

The newly developed 14-inch panel will be produced either at JDI’s Mobara plant near Tokyo or by a Chinese partner. Starting in fiscal 2024, Japan Display will mass-produce 1.4-inch eLEAP panels for smartwatches at the Mobara site. The company also has licensed its technology to major Chinese panel supplier HKC and is in talks for joint mass production of panels in China by about 2025.

JDI has a cross-licensing agreement with China Star Optoelectronics Technology, a LCD manufacturer under Chinese TV supplier TCL Technology, for mutual use of intellectual property.