Chinese firm likely aiming to win order from Apple for iPads in the long run
Chinese display giant BOE was in talks with smartphone brand Honor to manufacture a two-stack tandem OLED panel to apply to a smartphone planned for later this year, TheElec has learned.
The pair believe that the use of the technology, where the OLED panel has two emission layers, can reduce the power consumption of the smartphone by approximately 30%, sources said.
This means the smartphone can use a smaller battery that will allow the phone to be designed thinner, they added.
Honor also wanted the two-stack tandem OLED panel to have low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) technology.
But BOE had rejected the application of LTPO TFT, opting to have the panel use low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT that it already mass produces.
The decision not to apply LTPO TFT is likely due to technology only contributing to around 5% to 10% reduction in power consumption, when two-stack tandem will be already be reducing 30% by BOE’s estimation.
At the same time, applying the technology to the panel would require BOE to add more mask processes in production that will increase cost and potentially lead to lower yields.
BOE is planning to use the third phase line at its B7 factory line in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, to manufacture the two-stack tandem OLED panel.
B7 had been used to manufacture OLED panels for iPhones in the past, but this duty has shifted more to the B11 line, which means B7 is currently has operating at a lower rate than before.
B7 has a capacity of 16,000 Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) substrates per month.
As it is designed for single stack OLED panels, those with one emission layer, application of two-stack tandem OLED panels likely drop this capacity by half.
BOE’s ultimate aim with its project with Honor is likely to secure experience to manufacture two-stack tandem OLED panels aimed at iPads.
The company's South Korean rivals LG Display and Samsung Display are taking in projects to two-stack tandem OLED panels with Apple, but the Chinese display giant had not won such a project from Cupertino so far.
It also remains to be seen whether BOE will succeed in commercially launching a two-tack tandem OLED panel aimed at smartphones with Honor.
LG Display is the only display panel maker in the world that had succeeded in commercializing two-stack tandem OLED panels, which it manufactures and supplies for automotive applications.