MicroLEDs: horizontal ecosystems are setting up to compete
Apple, ams OSRAM… LED and display makers are now breaking this vicious cycle with major alliances to set up chip manufacturing capabilities.
- MicroLED’s commercialization has faced delays.
- Significant production volumes are expected in 2-3 years and broader adoption in 5-10 years.
- As OLED technology advances, the urgency for microLED to deliver clear performance, functionality, and cost advantages has grown.
- Ecosystem competition is influencing microLED development in regions like China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
- Microdriver-based architectures could disrupt both performance and the supply chain.
The initial optimism surrounding microLED technology in 2017, with expectations of commercialization by 2020-2021, has given way to a more extended timeline. Meaningful production volumes are now predicted to be achievable in the next 2-3 years, with widespread consumer adoption potentially taking 5-10 years.
Eric Virey, Ph.D., Senior Market and Technology Analyst at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group“While the industry has seen substantial investment with over US$11.5 billion spent by 2023, including US$8.8 billion for R&D and startup funding and US$2.7 billion for pilot lines and manufacturing preparations, the path to success has been marked by ups and downs, often due to challenges in achieving high-yield, low-cost, high-volume production. Cost models struggle to demonstrate that microLEDs can match OLED prices, and even if they do, the differentiation will be small, particularly in competitive markets like smartphones.”
Yole Intelligence has updated its dedicated MicroLED technology & market report to provide the latest updates on microLED technologies, the competitive landscape and supply chain, and the various applications. Which applications could microLED displays address and when? What does the supply chain look like? What are the challenges?
Yole Group has been following the microLED development for many years. The market research & strategy company is offering a significant collection of analyses, including market evolution, supply chain and competitive landscape analysis, technology roadmap, and more. Discover HERE this collection.
The urgency for microLED technology to succeed has grown as OLED technology continues to advance. With cost unlikely to be an element of differentiation, to establish itself as a strong alternative to OLED, microLED must deliver clear performances and functionality advantages. This includes higher brightness, color depth, stability, modular displays etc. MicroLED’s success may hinge on disruptive architectural changes like Si -CMOS microdrivers, which have the potential to enable advanced features like memory-in-pixel or integrated sensors, and significantly reduced power consumption. Microdrivers also have the potential to transform the display industry into a full semiconductor industry.
Raphaël Mermet-Lyaudoz, Technology and Market Analyst, Display at Yole Intelligence“However, such changes may be driven by industry outsiders and require further optimization to compete with traditional TFT architectures. In this evolving landscape, companies like Apple, with their hybrid microdriver + TFT approach, and innovators like X-Display, VueReal, Aledia, Sapien Semiconductors, Lextar and others are vying for a competitive edge, but pricing challenges persist, particularly for those outside of the largest players with Si-CMOS foundry access.”
Titre du visueljune 2021
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Yole Intelligence had the opportunity to discuss with Aledia and its new President & CEO, Pierre Laboisse. Pierre Laboisse has a clear vision of where microLEDs will be used in the mid- and short-term and how Aledia can provide the appropriate technologies, capacities, and IP to gain design wins in multiple markets, from smartwatches and large displays to even AR glasses and automotive in the coming years. Read the full interview: MicroLEDs, a new strategy for new markets – An interview with Aledia.
Comprehensive supply chain management poses challenges. Few are likely to achieve full vertical integration, opting for sourcing CoW or CoC from LED manufacturers.
Beyond corporate competition, it’s an ecosystem competition, particularly evident in China and Taiwan. Taiwan’s ecosystem covers all aspects of microLED development and manufacturing, marked by the formation of a domestic microLED alliance in April 2023. China’s display and LED industries are fostering domestic tool makers for mass transfer, testing, and repair.
Korea lacks well-established ecosystems and clear alliances within the supply chain, but LG and Samsung leverage their influence over domestic equipment players to drive microLED tool and process development.
Yole Intelligence’s display team invites you to follow the technologies, related devices, applications, and markets on www.yolegroup.com.
In this regard, do not miss Yole Intelligence’s presentation:
- Can microLED succeed in high-volume consumer applications? during TECH BLICK – MINI AND MICROLED DISPLAY on November 29 (online).
Speaker: Eric Virey, Ph.D., Senior Market and Technology Analyst – More information here.
- Two presentationsduring INTERNATIONAL DISPLAY WORKSHOPS 2023, from December 6 to 8 in Niigata, Japan:
MiniLED for Backlight Units: Applications, Ecosystem, and Market Forecasts
Speaker: Raphaël Mermet-Lyaudoz, Technology and Market Analyst, Display at Yole Intelligence
Progress and Remaining Challenges for MicroLED Volume Manufacturing
Speaker: Zine Bouhamri, Ph.D., Team Lead Analyst, Imaging & Display activities at Yole Intelligence
More information here.
Come and meet Yole Group’s analysts and discover the latest market, technology, and reverse engineering and reverse costing analyses. Send us your request for an onsite meeting at email@example.com.
- OLED : Organic Light-Emitting Diode
- Si : Silicon
- CMOS : Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor
- TFT : Thin Film Transistor
- CoW : Chip-on-Wafers
- CoC : Chip-on-Carriers