By definition, wearable Health Tech devices need to be small, lightweight, and power efficient. If they are to have a display — like a smartwatch — then the panel must also meet these characteristics. Organic light-emitting displays, or OLEDs, are the new challenger to the traditional LCD panels, offering thinner, lighter, and better performing displays in many applications. The technology also is more suitable for flexible panels than LCDs, making new form factors and design options available to product manufacturers.
According to the market research firm IHS, wearable devices are behind strong growth numbers for flexible OLED shipments. In their report,
AMOLED Panel Industry & Market Update – 2015, the company analysts predict that more than 11% of all high resolution OLED panels shipped this year will be flexible panels. This share is expected to grow to more than 25% by 2019.
Flexible panels are a competitive advantage for OLED displays compared with LCDs, but only certain applications such as wearables and smartphones can justify the added cost for this technology. While OLED shipments are forecast to grow, LCD technology is going to continue to dominate the larger display market for now.