DEMAND FOR LCD SCREENS is outstripping supply as more gadgets are being built, with experts warning that prices are climbing as a result.
The Quarterly Large-Area TFT Panel Shipment Report produced by NPD Displaywatch has observed that the conservative expectation for laptop panel demand as the sector shrinks was countered by the popularity of cheap alternatives such as Google's Chromebook and replacements being sought for computers running Windows XP, which reached end of life earlier this year.
This has caught many manufacturers not only by surprise but unable to predict what will happen next, so they have not ramped up production, leaving some OEMs scrambling for available LCDs.
Demand for tablet screens is slowing, however, with 9in and larger screen demand dropping 29 percent month to month in July. This is due to larger smartphones starting to become the norm, with demand for smartphone screen sized panels rising, partially due to increased demand for onboard computing in the automotive industry.
Screen demand for home entertainment devices continues to jump, with four million 50in-plus devices sold in July alone, while 4K TV is already chasing hard with 1.74 million in the same period.
Overall, however, the demand for LCD panels has dropped, as the major manufacturers attempt to take stock and control their inventories.
As the cut-throat world of consumer electronics intensifies, supply problems in the run up to major smartphone releases often create screen supply issues, as this specialist manufacturing is rarely done inhouse.
Today there are reports of a problem with the screen for the upcoming iPhone 6 that could delay its launch. µ