Mobile phone LEDs are used as small illumination source for various purposes such as backlight display, camera flash and keypad illumination. Display panels are the surfaces used for display and control components which acts as the direct interface for the human/machine interaction.
LED applications in mobile phones have expanded over the years. Conventional mobile phone application field mainly include keyboard backlighting and displays. Over the years, the smartphone shipments have grown substantially thereby increasing the market scale. Consumer demand for additional features in smartphone have increased with technological advancements such as higher resolution, larger screen size, and camera modules with higher pixel count. Subsequently, demand for additional LEDs has also increased to meet these requirements. For instance, some of the manufacturers have even incorporated dual flash LEDs in the smartphones. Moreover, remote control, environment sensing system and heart rate monitor technologies will also demand for LEDs to meet these additional benefits.
Increasing smartphone sales globally is expected to be the dominant driver of the mobile phone LED market. Rising smartphone average costs along with consumer acceptances will demand for more technological advancements in the smartphones. The shift in buyer preference is positively affecting the Chinese mobile manufacturers such as Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo to build desirable smartphones at an affordable prices.
Technological advancements in backlight display is expected to drive the mobile phone LED market demand over the forecast timeline. The Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) are brighter than LEDs, increases the battery life and have better response time for sensing the finger touch. Currently, the OLEDs are quiet costlier than LCD and LED displays and the costs are expected to reduce over the years owing to the economies of the scale.
OLED technologies are currently used in high end smartphones with some mobile phones using AMOLED display. For instance, OnePlus’ 5 smartphone feature a 5.5” FHD AMOLED display. Similar display technology is used in Oppo R11, Moto Z2 Play, Samsung Galaxy S8, J3 Pro and Vivo Xplay 6.
As LED flash has become the standard specification in smartphones, many LED manufacturers have entered into this potential industry. Some manufacturers are integrating front LED flash to satisfy the increasing night vision selfie demand. Lumileds is the oldest manufacturer of LED flash followed by Osram and Everlight. Samsung has also started to make flash LEDs for its smartphone consumption. Currently, the industry is swarmed with the entrance of Chinese manufacturers thereby not leaving the industry solely to Taiwanese and international players.
Cost control, technological barriers and patent barriers are not the most difficult issues in this industry. The potential challenge for manufacturers in this industry is entering into the smartphone chain in a relatively lesser timeframe. Chinese manufacturers have entered into the LED flash industry later and are currently in the transition phase. The mobile phone manufacturers are more prudent when changing the smartphone components owing to their high reliability requirements. The verification process of the changed components may take up to one year owing to fairly long testing cycles.
Asia Pacific remains attractive market for the mobile phone LED industry owing to emerging economies. India represents huge potential for the smartphone industry with the slowdown of the mobile sales in China, U.S. and Europe as it is expected to be the second largest mobile phone market after China.
Some of the prominent mobile phone LED manufacturers are Cree, Lumileds, Osram and Samsung. The mobile phone manufacturers are focusing on upgrading the phone flash to provide the best photography effect to the customers as the brightness range of flash LEDs currently is between 180 to 280lm with smartphones using 1 or 2 LEDs. For instance, Edison Opto has launched the brightest flash ES03 within ultra-small emitting area and reduced dimensions.
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