More than 20 million on-cell TFT LCD touch panels shipped globally in 1H’14, after only 4.7 million were shipped in all of 2013, as the technology has been adopted in the expanding entry-level and mid-range smartphones market. By 2018, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch (www.displaysearch.com) data, shipments of on-cell TFT LCD panels are expected to reach 129 million.
Embedded touch panels of all types, including in-cell and on-cell TFT LCDs, as well as on-cell AMOLED panels, accounted for 20% of all mobile phone displays in 2012, 29% in 2013, and an expected 32% in 2014.
“Overall the total embedded touch panel display market is expected to grow. However, individual manufacturer shipment shares still depend on Apple and Samsung, since they are the biggest customers for in-cell TFT LCDs and on-cell AMOLED panels,” says Calvin Hsieh, research director at NPD DisplaySearch. Other brands tend to use on-cell TFT LCDs.
As the smartphone market matures, consumers have grown to expect more features and functions at lower prices, pushing Motorola, Huawei, and other brands to adjust their product strategies.
“These brands are now cultivating the supply chain for additional touch-embedded panel sources as they adopt on-cell TFT LCD solutions to focus on entry-level and mid-range smartphone segments,” Hsieh says.
On-cell TFT LCDs with single-layer patterning are now being used to increase share in the entry-level and mid-range smartphone segments. Single-layer patterning has been adopted in the GF1 sensor structure (i.e., only one ITO film), and it is also now used for on-cell TFT LCD panels.