Taiwanese flat-panel makers AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) and Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) are lagging behind their Japanese and South Korean rivals when it comes to the thinner touch-panel technology which is often used in high-end smartphones, a Taipei-based analyst said recently.
Japan’s Sony Mobile Display began mass production of in-cell touch panels in February, IHS Displaybank senior analyst Stone Wu (吳善同) said.
Two other Japanese panel suppliers — Sharp Corp and Toshiba Mobile Display — and LG Display Co of South Korea have also been tapping into Apple Inc’s next-generation iPhone 5 panel supply chain, with the three companies scheduled to start mass production of the smartphone panels before the end of this month, he said.
Similar products made by AUO will not begin mass production until the third or fourth quarter, while Chimei Innolux will not produce any in-cell touch panels this year, Wu said.
“The yield on in-cell panels remains a key issue for most suppliers,” he told reporters in an interview.
“Even for those companies that start mass production in May, they can only reach an average yield of 65 to 70 percent at present,” Wu said, adding that the yield on touch panels used in Apple’s iPhone 4S was about 80 to 85 percent.
Compared with other technologies, touch panels that use in-cell technology can be made thinner because the touch sensors are placed inside color filters rather than on top of them.
The technology will largely be used in high-end smartphones, rather than mid-range and entry-level models, given the higher associated manufacturing cost, Wu said, adding that in-cell panels cost about 20 percent more than high-quality in-plane switching (IPS) panels which are currently used in premium smartphones and tablet computers.
In February, AU Optronics told investors it had completed research and development of in-cell panels and would start product design with customers in the second half of the year.
Wu said AU Optronics’ potential customers will likely be phone makers — possibly Taiwanese — because improving yields on in-cell touch panels measuring less than 5 inches is easier.
IHS Displaybank forecast that touch panel shipments would reach 1.24 billion units this year, up 27.6 percent from the 968 million units shipped last year.
In terms of technology, projected capacitive touch panels will remain the mainstream, accounting for 69.5 percent and 77.2 percent of total touch panel shipments this year and next year respectively, the research firm said.
UNCONVINCING: The US Congress questioned whether the company’s Chinese owners pose a national security risk and how the app might influence young users TikTok chief executive officer Shou Chew (周受資), confronted with an unforgiving, distrustful US Congress, tried to give answers in his testimony on Thursday that avoided offending either the US government or China. However, his evasiveness left Congress unsatisfied, with representatives hungrier than ever to punish TikTok for ties to its parent company ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), based in Beijing. He did not bring his company any closer to a resolution. Politically, TikTok is in a tougher spot. Its executives had been discussing divesting from ByteDance to resolve US national security concerns, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. However, China this week said
The Investment Commission yesterday approved a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) application to invest an additional US$3.5 billion in its Arizona subsidiary to manufactured advanced chips. The world’s largest contract chipmaker’s board of directors last month approved the funding project after TSMC started moving manufacturing equipment into the fab in December last year in preparation for the production of 4-nanometer chips next year. TSMC said it has also commenced the second phase of facility construction in Arizona. The second fab is to produce semiconductors using 3-nanometer technology in 2026. Altogether, TSMC plans to spend US$40 billion on the Arizona fabs, doubling its
Microsoft Corp has threatened to cut off access to its Internet search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they do not stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence (AI) chat products, people familiar with the dispute have said. The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index — a map of the Internet that can be quickly scanned in real time — to other companies that offer Web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc’s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Last month, Microsoft integrated a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, into Bing. Rivals
KEY SECTOR: Taiwan’s new chip legislation is insufficient, and a more strategic ‘chip act’ that covers the whole semiconductor ecosystem is needed, MediaTek’s chairman said MediaTek Inc (聯發科) chairman Rick Tsai (蔡明介) yesterday urged the government to formulate a state semiconductor strategy and comprehensive “chip act” that includes local chip designers and smaller-scale semiconductor companies, as they are facing intensifying competition from China. The government is playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding the local semiconductor industry’s competitiveness, given that the US, the EU and Japan are offering hefty subsidies and significant tax incentives to build semiconductor capacity domestically, as they have realized the strategic importance of semiconductors, Tsai said. To implement such a program, the government should take steps to finance a “chip act,” Tsai said