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Apple & Samsung drive 55% increase in mobile display revenues

The popularity of Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphones has driven a boom in revenues for display manufacturers, according to a new report from NPD DisplaySearch.

NPD's newest report on the mobile device display industry pegs 2013 revenues for the segment at $33.3 billion by the end of the year. That represents a 55 percent jump over revenues for 2012, driven in large part by rising smartphone display average sale prices.

Those rising display ASPs, according to NPD DisplaySearch vice president Hiroshi Hayase, stem from two devices in particular: the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4.

"The top two brands leading growth in the global smartphone market — Samsung with its Galaxy S4 series and Apple with its iPhone 5 series — continue to increase production volume and market share," Hayashi explained. "The growth in sales for these popular smartphone brands has led to increased requirements for high-end flat panel displays, including AMOLED used in the Galaxy S4 and LTPS TFT LCD used in the iPhone 5."

In the case of Apple's iPhone, the move to from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5 gave a boost to display ASP due to the latter's reliance on a larger Retina display with in-cell touch technology. Such technology allows for the iPhone 5 to be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, but at the cost of a more difficult manufacturing process that has lower yields.

NPD expects active-matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) display technology to become the leading mobile phone display technology over the course of 2013, with a 37 percent share of display revenues. That technology is already featured in Samsung's hot-selling Galaxy S4, and it is also a component in Motorola's new Moto X flagship handset.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has previously panned OLED technology, saying that the displays do not give reliable representations of colors. Apple, instead, has stuck with LCD displays with in-plane switching, and NPD expects that the popularity of Apple's devices will help that technology hold on to a 36.1 percent share of display revenue.