Struggling iPhone LCD screen maker Japan Display pivots to virtual reality

Japan Display, once one of Apple’s key suppliers, sees a new market for its liquid crystal displays (LCD) after ceding the smartphones arena to rival OLED screens: the nascient yet growing virtual reality business.

Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus
Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus featured LCD screens

Takashi Mochizuki and Yuki Furukawa for Bloomberg:

The Tokyo-based LCD specialist expects its favored display technology to become the standard for VR because it can achieve higher resolution than OLED while keeping costs reasonable. That advantage is imperceptible in mobile devices but becomes critical in the more demanding VR scenario.

To date, VR headsets have largely been a disappointment, promising to open a whole new content platform and ecosystem yet never quite achieving it. But VR game producers said the situation started to improve with Facebook Inc.’s Oculus Quest 2 release last year, which saw adoption tick up with many people stuck at home during the pandemic.

Many of the first wave of headsets released five years ago used OLED screens — or organic light-emitting diodes, the same as used across most flagship phones today — for their responsiveness to fast-moving action, a common feature of gaming experiences. But major players such as HTC Corp. and Facebook have moved to LCDs for their latest products, betting on the more economical standard to improve the user experience and immersion…

Unable to develop its own OLED panels to a competitive level with leader Samsung Display, JDI has seen its revenue from phones drop from 838 billion yen ($7.7 billion) in the year ended March 2016 to an expected 81 billion yen this fiscal year. The firm sold the factory it had used mainly to produce panels for Apple to Sharp Corp. last year.

MacDailyNews Take: Hope springs eternal at Japan Display.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.