Epistar's chairman - MicroLEDs to be adopted first by smartwatches, but it will take 3-4 years

Digitimes reports that Epistar's chairman, Lee Biing-jye says that he estimates that the first volume application for microLED displays is going to be in the smartwatch industry - but that will still take 3-4 years to actually materialize. Volume adoption in the TV market will take at least 4-5 years.

Epistar is developing microLED epitaxy and chip technology (in collaboration with AUO) and still has challenges to overcome, mainly in the mass transfer area. The company expects to achieve reliable production capabilities within 2-3 years. Epistar needs also to improve the yield rates for microLED epitaxy and reduce costs for mass transfer processes.

RiT Display shows a microLED wearable display prototype

In December 2019 Taiwan-based PMOLED display maker RiTDisplay announced that it plans to launch its first MicroLED displays in 2020. Last week during SID Displayweek 2020 the company demonstrated its first prototype, as can be seen in the video below.

The company did not reveal any technical specifications or discuss any commercialization plans.

PlayNitride to raise $50 million to establish a second production line, first microLED wearabledisplays expected to ship in 2021

In July 2019 Taiwan-based microLED developer PlayNitride raised $50 million to start trial production of microLED displays. According to a new report from Taiwan, the company plans to raise an additional $50 million by the end of September 2020 to funds it second microLED production line.

PlayNitride high-brightness high-density passive-matrix wearable Micro-LED prototype (SID 2019)

PlayNitride started volume production at its first production line in 2019, for small wearable displays, and the first displays are now being "validated" by customers. Shipments are likely to begin next year.

Omdia sees 16 million microLED displays shipped in 2027

Market research firm Omdia sees a strong growth in the microLED market in the future, led by demand from the smartwatch and TV markets. Omdia says 16 million MicroLED displays will ship in 2027 - over 10 smartwatch displays and 3.3 million TVs.

MicroLED display shipments forecast (2019-2027, Omdia)

This is impressive growth, but even with such projected growth microLEDs will have limited penetration in the display market in 2027.

RiTDisplay announces it will launch its first MicroLED displays in 2020

Taiwan-based PMOLED display maker RiTDisplay announced that it plans to launch its first MicroLED displays in 2020. RiTDisplay aims to mass produce wearable displays and hopes for receive meaningful revenues already in 2020.

In May 2019 RiTDisplay announced a strategic partnership and share swap with MicroLED developer PlayNitride. In June 2019 it was reported that a US-based smartwatch brand will start a design process in Q3 2019 using a micro-LED display that was co-developed by RiTDisplay and PlayNitride. RiT was reportedly to start shipping samples in Q4 2019.

Yole: microLED shipments to reach over 125 million panels by 2027

Market analysts at Yole Developpement say that microLED shipments will reach over 125 million panels by 2027. In their aggressive scenario, shipments will reach almost 450 million.

MicroLED panel shipments forecast (2021-2027, Yole)

Yole says that microLED technologies are advancing rapidly - and on all fronts, but there are still many challenges to overcome before mass production arrives. MicroLED makes a strong case for the AR, smartwatch and automotive market. For the smartphones and TV markets it is less clear whether MicroLEDs could succeed.

PlayNitride raises $50 million, will start trial production of microLED chips by the end of August 2019

Digitimes reports that PlayNitride raised $50 million and is ready to start trial production of micro-LED chips by the end of August 2019. PlayNitride will increase its headcount by 100 employees.

PlayNitride told Digitimes that it achieved a yield rate of 99.9% in its LED transfer (pick-and-place) process. Using mass repair technologies, the company is certain it can achieve commercial viability of its process. The company's mass transfer speed is 10,000 chips per second. This means that for a Full-HD (1920x1080) display it will take just over 10 minutes to transfer the LED chips. A 4K display will take just over 40 minutes.

Will PlayNitride and RiTDisplay supply Apple with MicroLED displays for future Watch devices?

According to Taiwan's Economic News Daily, PlayNitride and RiTDisplay are in talks with Apple to supply microLED displays for Apple's next-generation Watch wearable.

PlayNitride high-brightness high-density passive-matrix wearable Micro-LED prototype (SID 2019)

These are just rumors at this stage, but END says that PlayNitride confirms it is in talks with US customers regarding a 3" full-color Micro-LED display. This interesting as this is not a display we are used to see in most mobile devices - wearables are usually limited to around 1.5" while smartphones today start at around 6".