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Monday, January 18, 2010, 08:05 am PT (11:05 am ET)

AMOLED display seen as unlikely for Apple tablet - report

Given their high cost and a lack of supply in the 10.1-inch size, AMOLED displays are highly unlikely to be a part of Apple's forthcoming touchscreen tablet, a new report has concluded.

After speaking to industry sources, Ars Technica has made the case against an AMOLED tablet. The site spoke with Barry Young, managing director of the OLED Association, who said that there is "no real production of 10.1-inch panels."

The report, issued Monday, specifically disputes a claim last week that Apple had cornered the market on virtually all LCD and OLED screens sized at 10.1 inches. While the LCD component may prove true, placing an active matrix OLED display on the device isn't likely in 2010.

At most, Young told Ars, Apple would be able to procure 150,000 AMOLED display panels per month. And all of those would be coming from the only company that produces such displays in volume, Samsung SMD. OLED makers are currently straining to meet supply for panels in the 3.5-inch to 4.5-inch range.

"There may be the slimmest of chances that we could see an AMOLED Apple tablet announced at the end of this month, with commercial availability later in the second half of the year when a combination of premium pricing and increased fab capacity from LG and Samsung could make it possible to meet demand," the report said. "But is just speculation compounded with more speculation, though, so don't hold your breath for it to happen."

Last summer, rumors first began to arise that the tablet could sport an OLED screen for its touch panel display. One report said an OLED-based tablet would cost between $1,500 and $1,700 to build based on current component prices.

An OLED-based tablet would likely cost about $2,000 at retail, which is much higher than the sub-$1,000 price expected by many Wall Street analysts.

OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, deliver color pictures without the need for a backlight. They consume less energy and provide a superior picture. Some smaller portable devices, such as Google's Nexus One and Microsoft's Zune HD, employ them for display.