Samsung: 500% Y/Y in Smartphone Shipments

ABI Research:

Driven by the added distribution muscle of Verizon Wireless and China’s growing appetite for premium smartphones, Apple posted record shipments in Q2 of 20.3 million to become the top smartphone OEM after only four years in the business. Right on the heels of Apple, Samsung had an amazing Q2 with approximately 19 million smartphone shipments and over five million Galaxy S II shipments in its first 85 days.

Samsung is growing its smartphone business significantly faster than Apple. The best-selling Galaxy S II will be hitting U.S. shores in August. And just one month later, most are expecting the next iPhone to be announced by Apple. It’ll be exciting for folks in the market for a new smartphone in the next couple of months.

Samsung Display Panel Business, Second Quarter 2011 Results

Samsung:

The Display Panel Business recorded an operating loss of 210 billion won on revenue of 7.09 trillion won, down 9-percent in sales compared with the same period last year.

LCD panel shipments increased mid-10% range Q/Q, but inventory levels remained high. LED-backlit LCDs for notebooks and monitors increased, but 40-inch and larger TV panels dropped. Samsung plans to focus on LCD panels for 3D and Smart TVs for the third quarter. That’s interesting, I prefer dumb 2D TVs.

25-30 Million E Ink Displays in 2011

DigiTimes:

E Ink Holdings expects EPD shipments for e-book readers to increase more than 50% in the second half of 2011, and has upward adjusted its 2011 shipments projection from 20-30 million to 25-30 million, according to company chairman Scott Liu at an investors conference on July 28.

IDC:

For eBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Color Nook helped the company to take the lead in the eReader market for the first time. Amazon’s Kindle was second, but the lack of a color offering has clearly impacted the company’s previous dominance in the eReader market. IDC forecasts the worldwide eReader market to ship 16.2 million units in 2011, a 24% increase over 2010.

E Ink seems to be overly optimistic compared to IDC.

PS: Is the Nook Color an e-reader or a tablet? If you’re willing to root it, at just US$249 it is the most affordable Android tablet you can buy today.

AIP5

Mark Gurman:

[…] the SKUs are being referred to internally as AIP5, which obviously stands for Apple iPhone 5. This is a level up from the iPhone 4′s SKU name: AIP4. The interesting part here is that both SKUs are attached to 16 GB and 32 GB capacities.

Rumor: South Korea’s KT has AIP5-32, AIP5-16, and AIP5-00 in its system. AIP5-00 refers to the unlocked version.

Motorola expects to sell 1.5 million Xooms for the full year.

Dan Frommer:

Apple sells 1.5 million iPads every 2 weeks, for context.

Motorola Mobility, Chairman and CEO, Sanjay Jha:

With a focus on profitable growth and delivering differentiated LTE smartphones and tablets, we expect to achieve profitability in Mobile Devices in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2011.

Maybe that’s the difference. Apple focuses on building the best products possible for its customers. Motorola focuses on growth, differentiation, and profitability.

Sharp: Mobile Displays with IGZO, UV2A

Sharp FYQ1’11 consolidated financial results presentation, page 5:

  • LCD Color TVs: 156.0 → 154.3, -1.1%
  • LCDs: 261.0 → 188.0, -28.0%
  • Mobile Phones: 133.6 → 92.5, -30.8%

Revenues, in billions of yen, declined year over year in all three display sectors for Sharp. Due to deteriorating ASPs, revenues dropped despite LCD Color TV shipments increasing 22.3% Y/Y to 3.29 million units.

In the Consolidated Financial Release, page 4:

Meanwhile, in mobile LCDs, we will accelerate conversion of production lines at the Kameyama Plant and a shift to growth areas, including LCDs for smartphones and tablet terminals. At the same time, we will work to commercialize mobile LCDs using oxide semiconductor, InGaZnO (IGZO), developed in collaboration with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. This will allow us to create high value-added LCDs for next-generation mobile devices, featuring high definition, thin profile and low power consumption, which will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of our LCD business.

SEL and Sharp jointly announced their Continuous Grain Silicon (CGS) technology back in 1998. CGS sported higher electron mobility: 600x amorphous silicon (a-Si) and 3x low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS). One of the benefits of high electron mobility is the possibility of integrating circuitry on the glass substrate itself and reducing the number of physical external connections, reducing the overall size of TFT LCDs. Another advantage is the ability to integrate more pixels. The 3.5-inch IPS LCD Retina Display in the iPhone 4 is based on LTPS and sports a class-leading pixel format of 960×640.

IGZO is related to CGS in that improving electron mobility is the goal. IGZO offers 10-30x electron mobility compared to a-Si but has the potential for cost reduction compared to LTPS. On April 21, 2011 Sharp made an oxide semiconductor announcement:

In collaboration with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd., Sharp has developed and will commercialize a thin-film transistor using a new material, InGaZnO, a world’s first. High energy performance LCD panels will be made possible by downsizing the transistor and by increasing the light transmittance for each pixel. In addition, Sharp’s unique UV2A technology will achieve high display quality small- and medium- size LCD panels.

Smaller TFTs lead to improved light transmittance: more light passes through using the same backlight or at the same brightness level, backlight energy consumption is reduced. The smaller TFTs that IGZO allows can also be used for higher pixel density TFT LCDs.

Sharp’s UV2A technology precisely aligns liquid crystals to reduce light leakage resulting in improved contrast. One disadvantage of LCDs compared to OLEDs is the black level: LCDs generally show a dark grey whereas blacks on OLEDs are pure. Combine IGZO and UV2A and the possibility is high for a spectacular mobile LCD to be manufactured before the end of the year.

Apple Key to SoftBank’s Record Quarter

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son:

The solid growth in average per-user revenue and subscribers are behind our stable profits. I believe this trend will continue for some time. The iPhone’s strength is standing out the more people come to use smartphones.

Darrell Etherington:

Sales of Apple hardware may be contributing quite a bit to Softbank’s bottom line, but it also helps by increasing the average revenue per user (ARPU) for Softbank customers. Data ARPU climbed to a record high ¥2,440 per subscriber per month on average, putting it first overall in the world among mobile operators when it comes to the ratio of data to traditional cellular services ARPU.

SoftBank has exclusive rights to sell Apple’s iPhone and iPad in Japan and it seems the Japanese like them. Kazuyo Sawa and Yoshinori Eki at Bloomberg pointed to the iPhone having captured 38% share of smartphones in Japan during Apple’s fiscal 2010, ending on September 25. On page 43 of SoftBank’s Q1 earnings presentation the total number of smartphone shipments in Japan last year was 7.05 million. That puts iPhone shipments at roughly 2.7 million in 2010. And the iPad has been the number one selling tablet in Japan each month since January 2011.

iPhone: 28% of U.S. Mobile Subscribers in Q2’11

Nielsen:

According to June data from Nielsen, Google’s Android operating system (OS) now claims the largest share of the U.S. consumer smartphone market with 39 percent. Apple’s iOS is in second place with 28 percent, while RIM Blackberry is down to 20 percent.

Apple and RIM combined for almost half the market share of U.S. mobile subscribers. That’s quite impressive considering a bunch of companies including HTC, Motorola, Samsung, HP, Nokia, etc. only managed to capture the other half.

55-inch OLED TV in 2012?

LG Display CEO Young-soo Kwon:

LG Display may release a 55-inch OLED TV set sometime in the latter half of next year.

That’s exciting, but then there’s AU Optronics EVP Paul Peng. According to DigiTimes, he says large-sized OLED TV panels are not feasible for commercial use until 2014.

Peng probably didn’t mean large-size as in 10 inches and larger; he probably meant something really large, like 55 inches. And that got me thinking.

How much would a 55-inch OLED TV cost in 2012?

I only have two data points. The 11-inch Sony XEL-1 had an MSRP of US$2500 when it was made available in early 2008. Price per inch was $227. More recently LG outed its 15EL9500, a 15-inch OLED TV, for £1500 (US$2500) in mid-2010. That was $167 per inch.

In two years, from 2008 to 2010, the cost per inch for a commercially available OLED TV dropped $60 from $227 to $167 per inch. I’ll keep it simple and not go into technical details such as the different pixel format, brand premium, etc.

Assuming the cost of manufacturing goes down another $60 or so from 2010 to 2012, the cost per inch we can expect would be about $100. A 55-inch OLED TV would cost $5500 in 2012.

Today, a high-end 55-inch LCD TV from Samsung or LG costs around $3500. Next year the price should drop to below $3000. Would it be reasonable to ask an 80% premium for an OLED TV? Maybe not reasonable, but quite possible.