Latest Rumors Suggest Samsung May Acquire Micro LED Maker PlayNitride

Micro LED has become an obvious technology trend that even Samsung has started to eagerly tap into. According to online OLED publication OLED-info, Samsung is rumored to acquire Taiwan-based Micro LED manufacturer PlayNitride for up to US$150 million. Samsung would use the next generation display technology for VR applications and TVs in the future, the report said.
 
 
In response, Charles Li, CEO of PlayNitride Inc., on Monday denied the potential acquisition, but said he did hear about certain rumors. In fact, Samsung has never acquired any Taiwanese company before, so this possible move caused quite a stir in the local market. Samsung refused to comment on the report.
 
OLED-info also pointed out that Samsung's interest in PlayNitride might have something to do with Apple’s plan to move to Micro LED display on its next Apple Watch.
 
Since Apple acquired Micro LED developer LuxVue in May 2014, the tech giant has been working on the technology, and recent reports claimed Apple would start producing a small amount of Micro LED displays by the end of 2017 at its Taiwan factory. 
 
PlayNitride is reported to start producing Micro LED chip towards the end of 2017, meaning that if Samsung really acquires the Taiwanese manufacturer, it might have the chance to be added as a potential Micro LED display supplier for Apple Watch by 2018 or later, according to MacRumors.
 
An investment of US$150 million is huge, but industry insiders believe Samsung is not planning to completely replace OLED panels with Micro LED as it has spent several billion dollars to ramp up production. So if the rumored acquisition turns out to be true, it may simply means that Samsung wants to gain early traction in this rapidly developing market to compete with other major players.
 
Apart from Apple, Facebook-owned Oculus acquired InfiniLED in 2016 to develop Micro LED-based VR headsets. Japan’s Sony has also introduced huge Micro LED display walls.  
 
Compared with other display technologies, Micro LED consumes less power and can scale down significantly to make displays thinner than ever. Micro LED also performs impressively in resolution, luminance and in other image quality indicators. 
 
The latest research from LEDinside, a division of TrendForce, finds that the potential scale of the future micro-LED market – one that would replace the entire current LCD display chain including BLU, polarizer and other components – could reach US$30~40 billion.
 
However, the technology still has to mature and the production cost has to be brought down significantly. Then, they will have a chance to become mainstream in different application segments, LEDinside estimates. 
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