"The production ratio of mobile phones with color LCD displays in Japan will reach about 48 percent this year, to reach 24.13 million units, Nikkei Market Access said.
"The first release of mobile phones with such color displays was in December 1999, and growth has been rapid.
"However, projected market demand is unlikely to be met, because of the high popularity of the units. Production capacity of color LCDs cannot keep up with demand. Mobile phone makers believe that such LCDs are essential for Web browsing and playing online games in color.
"Already, the supply of color LCDs in the second quarter of 2000 is less than actual demand and fierce competition is expected among mobile phone manufacturers in an effort to secure color LCDs.
"Two of NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s i-mode mobile phone models with a color LCD were shipped as of April 2000: the Digital MOVA F502i made by Fujitsu Ltd., and the Digital MOVA D502i from Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
"Another color model is J-Phone Group's J-SH02, which is made by Sharp Corp. That model supports the J-Sky Internet service. All of the models have been selling at a brisk pace.
"NTT DoCoMo plans to make all of its mobile phones for shipment in the second half of 2000 those that support i-mode, and they will all have color LCDs. Also, J-Phone offers handsets with color LCDs. From the second quarter, makers of mobile phones such as Toshiba Corp., Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Kenwood Corp. intend to release color-display mobile phones.
"As of April, IDO Corp. and DDI Cellular Group, only offered models with monochrome displays, and those two firms are reportedly seeking to introduce color LCDs among their cdmaOne models.
"The total demand for color LCDs is thus expected to reach about 10 million units by the second quarter of 2000.
"Sharp and Seiko Epson Corp. are the only makers currently supplying color LCD modules. LCD makers are competing in terms of development. These two companies will likely continue to be the major suppliers during 2000 because other makers are faced with difficulties, such as with producing LCD panel driver ICs for color-display mobile phones.
"According to Nikkei Market Access, the production capacity of the two companies in the second quarter of 2000 will likely reach 1.6 million units a month, and it is expected to increase to more than 3 million units by the end of this year.
"Meanwhile, the total of units sought by mobile phone makers will reach 4.3 million units by the end of 2000, and this can be translated into a shortage of more than a million units.