[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics is reportedly seeking to take over PlayNitride, a Taiwanese micro-LED maker, for an estimated US$150 million, according to Israel-based publication OLED-info on April 30.
With the possible acquisition, the report said, the Korean tech giant aims to develop virtual reality devices and TVs based on micro-LED, a new display technology that is considered more energy efficient and durable while boasting higher picture contrast compared to the current OLED.
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The micro-LED display is made of conventional diodes -- 5 to 10 micrometers in size -- forming individual display pixels.
The technology has recently been thrust into the spotlight as Apple is reportedly considering using the display for its new devices, including Apple Watch, and ultimately for the iPhone. The company also acquired a micro-LED tech developer LuxVue in 2014.
“Samsung appears to be trying to catch up with Apple through the possible acquisition,” an industry source told The Investor on condition of anonymity.
Samsung declined to comment on the report.
Industry watchers, however, say the technology’s immediate adoption would not come anytime soon even though top display makers such as LG Display have continued related research work.
“It will take at least five years for the micro-LED technology to be adopted for devices and replace OLED in the long term,” said another source who also declined to be named.
Facebook-owned VR company Oculus acquired Ireland-based InfiniLED last year to use micro-LED for its VR headsets. Japan’s Sony has also unveiled huge display walls using micro-LED.
LED chipmakers, including OSRAM, Epister, Lextar and Cree, are especially pouring considerable resources into the development as the new technology is highly expected to penetrate into a diverse range of tech devices, including smartphones, in the coming years.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)