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".

Digitimes: RiTDisplay plans to start producing smartwatch MicroLED displays in 2020

In May 2019 Taiwan-based PMOLED display maker RiT Display announced a strategic partnership and share swap with MicroLED developer PlayNitride. Digitimes now states that RiT expects to start shipping its first microLED smartwatch displays in 2020.

According to the new report, a US-based smartwatch brand will start a design process in Q3 2019 using a 1.25" micro-LED display that was co-developed by RiTDisplay and PlayNitride. RiT will start shipping samples in Q4 2019.

We talk Micro-LED technology and market with Yole Développement

Market research firm Yole Développement has been following the Micro-LED market for some years with some very interesting insights and forecasts.

Zine Bouhamri photo (Yole)

Yole's technology & market analyst Zine Bouhamri was kind enough to discuss Yole's Micro-LED views with us. Mr. Zine is is a member of the Photonics, Sensing & Display division at Yole and he's deeply involved in the business development of the Displays unit activities.

San'an Optoelectronics to set up its first micro-LED wafer production line in Q1 2019

San'an Optoelectronics logoAccording to Digitimes, China-based Sa'nan Optoelectronics is gearing up to setup its first micro-LED epitaxial wafer and chip production line in Q1 2019. San'an developed 20-micron micro-LEDs, and the company is now aiming to develop 4-micron LEDs and 10-micro LED flip-chips.

According to the report, San'an aims to start small-volume micro-LED production to be used for wearables, automotive taillights and large-area displays. The company's green and blue micro-LEDs are ready for commercialization, but its red chips still require development.

n-Tech sees a very bright future for Micro-LED displays, starting in 2019

n-tech Research says that the Micro-LED market will emerge in 2019, with sales reaching $2.7 billion. The market will grow very quickly to reach over $70 billion in 2027.

MicroLED display market forecast (2018-2027, n-Tech)

n-Tech says that the immediate markets for Micro-LED displays will be near-eye displays (AR/VR), automotive HUDs and projectors - as these will benefit mostly from the small size, low weight, high brightness and high resolution of Micro-LED displays. Wearables (smartwatches) is another lucrative market (n-Tech sees $1.6 billion in smartwatch Micro-LED display sales in 2022).

Vuzix and Plessey to co-develop MicroLED based AR glasses, aiming to commercialize a first device by 2019

UK-based GaN-on-Si MicroLED developer Plessey Semiconductor announced that it has partnered with AR supplier Vuzix to develop advanced Micro-LED display engines for Vuzix waveguide optics to enable next generation AR Smart Glasses. Vuzix expects to introduce the Micro-LED microdisplay based AR glasses in 2019.

Plessey MicroLED HUD prototype (CES 2018)

Vuzix says that Plessey's Quanta-Brite light engine is highly efficient and bright, and will enable smaller and more efficient AR devices. The Quanta-Brite engine is based on Plessey's advanced and proprietary gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology, with an integrated monolithic array of RGB pixels with advanced micro-optical elements.

Digitimes: Apple is collaborating with TSMC on Wearable/VR/laptop Micro-LED displays, first displays will enter production by early 2019

Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that Apple is progressing with its Micro-LED development project, and has already managed to produce promising display samples. Now Taiwan's Digitimes reports that Apple is collaborating with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) towards mass production of Micro-LED panels.

Apple Watch photo

Apple and TSMC are focusing on small-sized micro-LEDs on silicon based backplanes, targeting both wearable devices and AR applications. The Micro-LED microdisplays for AR applications will be around 0.7-0.8 inch in size, while the wearable panels will be larger at 1.3-1.4 inch.