Android phone supplies hit by AMOLED shortage

Android phones are selling well – maybe a little too well. Market research firm iSuppli is reporting that demand for Android handsets with OLED displays is exhausting available supplies.

HTC has been chucking out AMOLED handsets left right and center – starting with the Nexus One for Google, and other manufacturers aren’t far behind. Trouble is, there are only two companies who can produce AMOLED is sufficient quantities to supply the industry, and at least one of them would prefer to hoard a stash for itself.

Samsung Mobile Displays and LG Displays are the two main sources of AMOLED panels. Samsung has recently announced that it is plough 2.2 billion quid into new facilities but LG has yet to commit any new funds. Between them, the pair have been able to keep producing the AMOLED dislays that Android phones are increasingly sing but as HTC and others have been surprised by the demand for the devices, they have found it hard to keep up.

To make matters worse, Samsung is keen to keep hold of a supply of AMOLED screens for use in its own range of phones, leaving poor LG to make up the difference.

iSuppli cites the difficulty of producing the delicate displays as the reason for the duopoly. The processes involved are complex and prone to error and phone manufacturers are becoming nervous about the prospect of supplies being cut short. This is one case where Apple fans can smile smugly to themselves and the AMLCD display process used to create the iPhone 4’s Retina display  is entirely different and Apple seems to have things covered on that front.

Are Android makers about to have the rug pulled from under them just as the platform is taking off? We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear.

Out n/a | £n/a | iSuppli (via Engadget)

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