In the absence of major news, next-generation display specialist Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL ) just turned in a respectable quarter, well ahead of expectations. The $3.4 million of revenues continued the shift it started the previous quarter -- toward commercial sales and away from purely research-grant funding.
Universal Display's exciting technology, using phosphorous organic light-emitting diodes (PHOLED) in everything from rollable displays to general purpose lighting, is starting to reach consumers now. When Samsung SDI starts up its OLED plant next year, we're talking mass production and mass appeal, because the screens produced there will go into Samsung's worldwide array of cell phones, home electronics, and gadgets, and so on -- who doesn't own a few pieces of Samsung equipment?
The one remaining question mark hanging over the technology and keeping rivals like KoninklijkePhilips (NYSE: PHG ) , Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW ) , and Cambridge Display (Nasdaq: OLED ) in the running is the useful lifetime of blue PHOLED elements. But the research and development team keeps expanding, and Universal Display just opened an expanded research facility, with no slowdown in development activities. In the words of Chief Technology Officer Julie Brown, "The life span of the organic materials has increased by a factor of ten in the past two years, and there have been fundamental molecular-level materials discoveries, design and manufacturing improvements over the last five to ten years." To summarize, yes that's a problem, but they're working on it.
We already have a few OLED devices available on the market, but it's nothing like what will come when Samsung opens the floodgates. My Creative Labs (Nasdaq: CREAF ) Zen audio player has an OLED display, for example, and Sony (NYSE: SNE ) is selling Walkman phones with the technology. Given the power efficiency of OLEDs, and how attractive it makes them to makers of mobile devices, I wouldn't be surprised to see OLED iPods from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) in a generation or two, probably starting with the ultraportable nano line.
So excuse me if I seem disinterested in this quarter's results. The real meat is about to show up very soon, and early investors -- me included -- stand to reap some serious gains when it happens.
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Fool contributorAnders Bylundis a Universal Display shareholder but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check outAnders' holdingsif you like, and Foolishdisclosure always looks great.