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iSuppli: Emerging display tech gain momentum

Posted: 04 Dec 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:display technologies  head-up display  touchscreen 

LCD is the dominant display technology for most electronic products, including televisions, computer monitors, notebook PCs, Ultra Mobile PCs, MP3/Portable Media Players and mobile phones. However, there still is room and a need for emerging display technologies, according to iSuppli Corp.

"Alternative technologies are still required because they can overcome some of the disadvantages of LCDs, and have some special capabilities that LCDs cannot match," said Jennifer Colegrove, senior analyst for display technology and strategy for iSuppli. "These technologies include touchscreen, bi-stable, near-eye, Head-Up Display (HUD) and miniature projection displays."

Examples of the strong market prospects for such technologies include:

—Global shipment revenue for the leading touchscreen technologies will rise to Rs.17,401.93 crore ($4.4 billion) by 2012, up from Rs.9,491.96 crore ($2.4 billion) in 2006, iSuppli predicts.

—Shipments of bi-stable displays, i.e. electronic displays that are capable of presenting an image without using power, are expected to reach 35 crore units by 2012, up from a mere 2.9 crore units in 2007.

—Near-eye display revenue is expected to grow to Rs.2,863.41 crore ($724 million) by 2012, rising from Rs.826.59 crore ($209 million) in 2007.

—The global HUD module market is expected to reach Rs.423.18 crore ($107 million) in revenue by 2012, up from Rs.102.83 crore ($26 million) in 2006.

The magic touch
The release of Apple Inc.'s iPhone has put touchscreens into the spotlight, but the demand for this technology was already growing rapidly even before Apple joined the party. Demand for touchscreen displays is being driven primarily by the mobile-phone and consumer-electronics industries—specifically portable game consoles, personal digital assistants and portable navigation devices. However, as the market matures, iSuppli believes touchscreen displays will find a role in nearly every aspect of life, from planes, to automobiles, to machine-control systems, to home appliances.

The attached figure presents iSuppli's forecast for the touchscreen display market for the period of 2006 through 2012.


Touchscreen display market for the period of 2006 through 2012
(Click to view table.)

Feeling bi-stable
After many years of uncertainty, a real market is beginning to take shape for bi-stable displays. Demand is rising for this technology as companies try to limit the power consumption of portable devices and always-on signage.

Bi-stable displays' capability to sustain images without electricity also makes them well suited for smart cards, removable flash storage devices and e-book/e-paper, according to iSuppli. Other applications include Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs), Point of Purchase/Point of Sale (POP/POS) and mobile phones.

Mini's might
Consumers love tiny handheld electronic devices, but don't love diminutive displays that can show only infinitesimal images. Because of this, makers of handhelds—including Portable Media Players (PMPs), DVD players and mobile TVs—hope to improve the viewing experience by offering products with pocket/embedded projectors and near-eye displays, also called Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs). Such display solutions not only offer a larger viewing area, but also lower costs, less power consumption and reduced weight and size.

As its name suggests, the near-eye display is designed to be placed on a helmet or visor close to the user's eye, providing a virtual image that is larger than the physical dimensions of the display. HMDs can display a virtual image ranging in size from 20 inches to 100 inches, providing a much more comfortable and compelling viewing experience than the 2-inch displays typically used on mobile phones.

Pocket rocket
The pocket projector market is growing due to the high demand for portable presentation equipment. iSuppli defines pocket projectors as those that weigh less than 2 pounds, or about 0.9 kilograms and have a size smaller than 60 cubic inches, or about 983 cubic centimetres, without a battery.

Pocket projectors are preferred by travellers, because they allow them to deliver presentations to small groups of people instantly, at any time, and in any place required. Most of these projectors can run on batteries.

Commercially available pocket projectors mostly now weigh between 1 and 2 pounds, or 0.45 to 0.9 kilograms. A pocket projector that weighs less than 1 pound is set to come to the market in the fourth quarter.

Heads up
Displays have been used in automobiles for decades, as they can provide information for drivers and entertainment for passengers.

Head-Up Displays (HUDs) enhance safety by keeping drivers' eyes on the road. Currently, there are many vehicle manufacturers offering HUDs including General Motors, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Honda.

The global HUD module market is expected to reach Rs.423.18 crore ($107 million) in revenue by 2012, up from Rs.102.83 crore ($26 million) in 2006.

There are big growth opportunities for miniature projectors. And with the rear-projection television market losing momentum, microdisplay manufacturers should view this market as an opportunity for growth.

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