The modern era is encouraging the ubiquity of small screens with great potential. It is depicted by the acceptance of devices such as smartwatches, which have taken the benefit of the high resolution and low power consumption of microdisplays. Furthermore, a wide range of displays including head-mounted displays, oled microdisplay, dlp projectors, electronic viewfinders, and head-up displays are gaining prominence. As of now, LCD displays are mostly getting replaced by the OLED microdisplays across numerous verticals such as TV and mobile phones. These OLED displays are inclusive of thin films which are made up of organic light emitting materials. OLED has been evolving as a next-generation display technology with a simpler structure compared to LCDs. Additionally, it is more advantageous because it provides a larger color gamut, wide viewing angles, better contrast, faster refresh rate, lower power consumption and also a wide operating temperature range. Microdisplays are primarily used in multifarious applications such as an EVF (Electronic View Finders) designed for digital cameras and Helmet Mounted Display systems (HMDs) and as an image source used for Rear Projection TVs (RPTVs), projectors. In addition to this, increasing adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) systems, near-eye displays, Augmented Reality (AR) and smart glasses, Head-Up Display (HUD) systems and their need for high-resolution microdisplays is fuelling the microdisplays market demand. Hence, as of 2018, the global microdisplays market size has reached $1 billion and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% over the forecast period 2019-2025.
Currently, eMagin Corporation and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation are the two leading OLED microdisplay producers. Firstly, Sony Company produces a wide variety of microdisplays for the consumer electronics market. These displays are largely accepted as camera EVFs. For Instance, XGA OLED EVF is used in Sony’s Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera. On the other hand, eMagin Company mainly operates into defense, industry and medical markets. Recently, it has stepped into the consumer market and is targeting to deliver the superior user experience for VR and AR headsets. Presently, the demand for wearable products is high, which is automatically increasing the growth of microdisplays market. These displays can generate large image effectively using a very small, and lightweight source display unit. Moreover, they are manufactured in a way that they can easily get integrated into the space-constrained technology, namely wearables.
The popularity of VR glasses is increasing day-by-day not only because of the gadget enthusiasts who are always passionate about these glasses but also because of the possibility of virtual tours through museums along with potential automotive purchasers, who can see the interior of their new car with several color and fabric choices using these glasses. Superior image quality, slim design, lightweight, and beneficial form factor of OLED displays to LCD displays have attributed to the increase in the integration of OLED displays in the smartphone market in the recent past. Thus, these microdisplays market attributed to thriving automotive industry as they afford better display performance and greater design flexibility, which is useful in gaining traction of more number of consumers. The commercialization of these flexible OLED displays has been assisting the manufacturers to form a revolution in cars through various innovative designs which is in initially incorporated into the dashboard and the center console. These displays are used in many new applications as they are thin, shatterproof, light, and conformable to any surface. For instance, In May 2019, Himax introduced a Flexible OLED Driver and Timing Controller for BOE’s cutting-edge automotive display solution. This collaboration of Himax with BOE on flexible OLED automotive displays signifies a clear conviction of Himax technology leadership along with it creates new growth opportunity. Therefore, the application of microdisplays is growing at a faster rate that is with a CAGR of 20.54% in the automotive end-use industry throughout the above-mentioned forecast period.
North America has been identified as the dominating region, holding the largest regional share that is about 35.8% in the global microdisplays market as of 2018. It is due to the existence of established players in the U.S. such as Kopin Corporation and also owing to the increasing number of joint ventures and product launches of major players operating out of the region.
Major Players in Microdisplays Market Include:
Kopin Corporation; Himax Technologies, Inc.; eMagin Corporation; WiseChip Semiconductor Inc.; Microtips Technology, LLC; Universal Display Corporation; Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation; Micron Technology Inc.; LG Display Co. Ltd.; Seiko Epson Corporation; Yunnan Olightek Opto-Electronic Technology Co., Ltd.; Jasper Display Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation, and Microvision Inc are the foremost companies which are operating in the global microdisplays market. These companies have been constantly concentrating on product launches, and acquisition strategies to strengthen their product portfolio and their stable existence in respective geographies.
Notable Innovations in Microdisplays Market:
· In September 2018, Fraunhofer involved in the development of microdisplays for headache- and motion-sickness-free VR glasses. It deals with the design approach to reach high frame rates coupled with the extended parallel interface of the OLED microdisplays as well.
· In April 2019, Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, unveiled a microdisplay using OLED-on-silicon technology named as 0.64" 720p OLED Microdisplay. In May 2019, the company announced that this new OLED microdisplay is specifically limited to industrial Augmented Reality (AR) data glasses. Features of this display are driving the uptake of electronics because it is easy to integrate into portable systems, besides being accessible as an evaluation kit. Scientists of this institute are well engaged with more number of similar projects and are expected to cause further disruptions in the microdisplays market with innovation.
· In 2017, Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group (LCIG), and Kopin Corporation signed an agreement of joint venture. Kopin has provided a small capital investment along with industrial design solutions. Key components of Kopin, which include microdisplays, software, optics, and the Whisper Voice Chip, are helpful to stimulate the Lenovo new vision. Through this agreement, these companies targeted to speed up the commercialization of AR products and to stand as successful leaders in the fast-growing China and global AR markets.
· In March 2017, Kopin, a US-based microdisplay manufacturer signed an agreement of joint venture for an amount of $170 million. It is aimed to produce OLED microdisplays for both the AR and VR market consumers. This agreement happened between BOE Technology-OLED maker and OLIGHTEK-OLED microdisplay maker. With this business strategy, BOE technology has run its first production samples in August 2018.
· In 2019, Fraunhofer's FEP’s low power OLED microdisplays are used in LetinAR new pinhole effect PinMR AR technology. The Fraunhofer's FEP work together with Korean-based LetinAR for the development of an ultra-low-power OLED microdisplay-based optic lens, especially for AR applications. They are envisioned to display this new AR eyewear technology at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Spain. This technology involves the usage of Pinhole Effect through tiny mirrors and surrounded by eyeglass lenses. It is mainly proposed to disclose that truly-wearable augmented-reality that is closer to reality by conjoining highly efficient see-through optics and ultra-low power OLED microdisplay technologies.
· In 2017, Seeya Information Technology a China-based OLED microdisplay maker announced its plan to construct a new production line in China. It is having a production capacity to produce 20 million displays on a yearly basis. Generally, this new line expansion needs an investment of nearly $300 million. Furthermore, OLED materials evaluation agreement has been signed between Universal Display Corporation (UDC) and Seeya Company. In which, UDC has been agreed to supply its phosphorescent OLED materials for Seeya’s display applications.
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