Has HTC Been Pulling a Switcheroo on Screens with Recent Units Due to Component Shortages?


If you are the owner of an HTC EVO 4G that came in a later shipment, you may be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the screen you were promised. The same may go for upcoming shipments of the HTC Droid Incredible and HTC Desire, according to sources at OLED Display. Let’s get the EVO out of the way first. The guys over at Android and Me noticed a difference between the colors and quality of the images displayed on a newly purchased EVO compared to one that comes from older stock.


Their conclusion was that there are two EVO builds floating around, one numbered ‘002’ and one numbered ‘003’. The ‘002’ build uses a Novatek LCD (below on left) while the ‘003’ sports an Epson LCD (below on right). The two will definitely give you different results in terms of color reproduction as seen below. [You can check your own build by navigating to Settings > About phone > Hardware information > Hardware version, though there are reports of the displays not always being exclusive to a certain build.]


They say you may not notice the washed out look of the newer screen without having an old one to compare it to, and speculate that supply shortages similar to those concerning the Incredible and its Samsung displays may have led the company to search elsewhere for screens of a slightly lesser quality to help meet overwhelming demand.


The component shortages were first mentioned in relation to the stock crisis that has been plaguing the Droid Incredible on Verizon. A lack of Samsung-manufactured AMOLED displays was making it hard to keep units on the shelves. The report at OLED Display very well may confirm HTC’s switch to a different screen manufacturer, at least when it comes to the glass being used on the Incredible and Desire.

The new display said to be headed to future Incredible and Desire handsets will be the Sony-made Super TFT LCD. Why the switch rather than waiting out the shortages? Simply because Samsung needs all the AMOLED screens it can get for its own Galaxy S line of Android superphones. Now there is no physical proof just yet that a screen-switch is actually happening, so file it as a rumor until we get some kind of hard evidence.

But if HTC is in fact buying LCD displays elsewhere, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched that they had decided to do the same for the EVO. One thing is certain, if HTC is indeed trying to pull the switcheroo, they got some ‘splainin to do, but you commenters will no doubt aptly express your “polite” opinions below.

[via Android and Me, OLED-Display]

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  1. I believe Epson is better… Novatec has a purple/pink tint… greys, which are prominent throughout sense UI, look gross on novatek. On epson, these same colors look as they’re supposed to.

  2. that would be irresponsible on their part without letting people know before hand. there better be a press release if this happens.

  3. HTC has too much going for them to screw their potential customers over, by just “doing it” and not telling people.. Especially with the Incredible and Legend, and the AMOLED screens they have. even a SUPER TFT LCD isn’t anything in comparison, plus an LCD would drain battery even faster then the AMOLED.

    The Incredible can’t afford something choking it’s battery further. it already sucks. :(

  4. here is the purple tint for greys i was talking about. novatec on 0002 build on left, epson on 0003 build on right. also, i should note that some epson builds actually have novatek. http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y204/blu3g/002and003.jpg

  5. Switching screen types within the same model name is a no no.

  6. well according to http://androidcommunity.com/htc-forced-to-switch-to-super-tft-lcd-from-amoled-due-to-shortages-20100625/ it’s actually the same screen the iphone4 uses.. So it seems like that would take away the only advantage the iphone even has..

  7. and of course i’m talking about the wow pixel affect that everyone keeps going on and on about.

  8. How would this be a problem? Really? Supply shortages are stopping sales and HTC is doing what it can along with Google to replace the screen with a like screen that shows similar characteristic and performance. No big deal. It’s kinda like being pissed off that you got a Class 8 MicroSD card instead of a Class 6. HTC needs to fulfill their contracts and make profits otherwise there will be no HTC.

  9. what displays do Motorola use? They seem to be good… Why in the hell doesn’t someone besides Samsung make AMOLED screens anyway

  10. HTC get some Gorilla Glass!!!

  11. If you have to look at the spec screen to tell the difference, I’d call it a non-issue.

  12. samsung is super amoled and 16 million colors vs only 65,000 for EVO so it was already way ahead of HTC

  13. I think this EVO screen issue is a joke. I have two EVOs one with each type of screen. Sure the gray looks different on both, but I didn’t realize until I put both phones side by side. Also, I don’t understand the idea that this is a “switcheroo”. I didn’t buy the EVO expecting to get an Epson or Novatek screen. As long as the screens meet the same specifications and quality I figure it doesn’t matter who makes it. Other than the color differences I don’t think there is any valid proof that either screen is superior. Sourcing identically spec’d parts from multiple manufacturers isn’t dishonest, it’s a good business practice.

  14. It seems odd that my EVO phone shows an 003 hardware version because I picked it up from best buy on the day they were released. I would expect that my phone was part of the early shipments, unless there were multiple shipments to best buy for release day.

  15. If HTC were to get some consistency into their display sizes, they may have a stronger bulk buy bargaining power with their suppliers.

    LCD shortages have been happening for years now. And now we have OLED shortages as well? Where’s all the investment been going?

  16. Short-selling their own customers? Apple has another patent infringement to add to their lawsuit w/ HTC.

  17. Chill people, chill. In order to meet the demand for the phone, they went to another manufacturer who could meet their needs. Would you rather wait another 6 months for the phone?

  18. I agree with Hmm. The Epson looks more realistic and is an improvement.

  19. so Samsung basically f&*cked HTC over, huh?

  20. I purchased my EVO June 4 and it is a 0003

  21. After reading this article I sat and compared my evo (build 002) and my girls (build 003) and I honestly can’t tell the difference. They both look fricken awesome!

  22. If anything HTC will only look to improve the quality of the product to stay competitive. This may result in fewer rebates for us while the product is shipping but overall HTC will do what it can to stay two steps ahead of Motorola and Apple.

  23. The only version I care about is “Firmware” 2.2 aka Froyo in the near future. Because I’m running Hardware 002 and I still think it looks awesome

  24. Can’t tell difference? New screen is actually favorable? Same screen as the iPhone 4?

    Gotta love the comments on this post. Thank goodness my Evo has the Novatek screen.

  25. What is really strange is the 7 degree temperature rise in less than a minute.

  26. How real is that image? It looks somewhat fake.

    Time – same
    Date – same
    Location – same
    Weather – different…. ???

  27. They can’t just switch from amoled to lcd? One of the incredibles best features is its screen

  28. My Incredible is an “002” and I would say it definitely looks like the Epson on the right thus making this “rumor” False. O yea and I got it on the release date through preorder

    Try and badmouth hTC like that? ..pfftt! Hah

  29. if this is true my incredible just became a little more valuable!!

  30. The weather can be different do to different update frequencies very easily.

  31. @ccongdon
    Good catch.. and the one on the right has a 1 min difference in the 2 clocks on the same phone … somethings fishy.

  32. I’ve seen differences in clocks, weather, etc on the same phone before, doesn’t look fishy to me.

    My girlfriend has hardware revision 0003 while I have revision 0002. Interestingly enough, SHE is the one with the Novatek LCD while I have the Epson LCD. Put side by side, the difference is visible just like the picture in this article.

    I’m honestly not sure which is better, because the Epson is definitely more realistic. The Novatek is more vibrant though, and I think given the choice I would go with that one.

    As the article says, it’s not something you’d notice unless you were comparing side by side – my girlfriend and I have used each other’s phone multiple times over the past month and didn’t notice the difference until we knew to look for it.

  33. [Update] All right, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve just heard directly from HTC, and sure enough, it sounds like things are definitely changing. However, everything isn’t as bad as we had initially heard. HTC has plans to keep using the AMOLED technology from Samsung, but they are also going to use Sony’s Super TFT LCD displays as well. According to HTC, there is no discernible difference between the displays from Sony and Samsung, and they are expecting the differences to slide under the radar.

    ^From Android Community

  34. Does this mean that the Htc Desire will get true 800 x 480 resolution instead of the PenTile matrix 640 x 480?

  35. I know it may be an item of contention with the devotees of the product, but the manufacturer says they will produce a product. That gives the producer the ability to use any component he desires or needs to use in the production of that item. Unless the manufacture promotes the product as having a PARTICULAR component as a feature, then changing that component is at his discretion. If FORD uses one company for the windshields, but in the middle of the production of XYZ car, that first windshield supplier for whatever reason stops supplying windshields or FORD finds a windshield that meets “similar” specs from another supplier. FORD does not have to change the name of the car, nor tell people they are using different windshield that might have a slightly different tint.

  36. I have a 2 and my wife has a 3 and you can see the difference when they are side by side. The 2 is warmer and the 3 is cooler, but it’s not a huge difference. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it if you’re an EVO owner.

  37. Here’s the deal in my mind. I am an Android fan, but these delays are killing the platform. Who wants to wait 3 months for a hot Android phone when the hot iOS phone only has 2 week wait (or so). Although it is that crappy ATT network. If we want Android to succeed, we need them to ship product.

    Also, although I am waiting for non-ATT Galaxy S devices to show, I sure don’t want to wait six months for one.

  38. I have a 002 with a novak and I actually like mine better but I still don’t think its right for things to be different when people have the exact same phone.

    Still considering dropping it just in principle and waiting for the Galaxy but not having the modding community of HTC may be too hard to give up!!

  39. What are everyone’s thoughts on whether or not this switch will fix the capacitive touch issue regarding the screen malfunctioning when not grounded? Are other AMOLED screens having this issue or is this possibly a firmware issue with the Incredible?

  40. panel lottery.

    google it. been happening for years on PC monitors

  41. I’m waiting on my Incredible to be shipped, I hope VZW lets me know if there are any hardware changes to the phone…They probably won’t though. I ordered it on 6/20, and I just hope that it gets here by the time VZW says it will.

  42. so the move super tft lcd means that htc will finally use more than 65k colors in their displays to 16 million? Now they need to work on their crappy vibrate motors in their phone that suck

  43. I like cooler tones, i always have. makes everything look more crisp to me. All my tv’s are set to cool. Dont matter to me, maybe they will run outta Snapdragons and add a 1GHz Hummingbird processor instead. Im down? Any other takers?

  44. Don’t blame hTC. Blame Samsung.
    HTC leads Sammy in smartphone marketshare and Samsung has decided that 1 way to gain shares is to stop supplying their competition AMOLED screens.
    It’s a dirty tactic and one can tarnish the names of both parties.

    Russ, your partialy right. Yes, its been going on for yearwith PC motors, laptop monitors etc,, but for differing reasons. In those cases to keep manufacturing costs low. However, in this case it is because Samsung wants to sell their own phone so they nolonger want hTC using their screens. They want it for themselves.

  45. Blame samsung? HTC can decide to innovate and come up with their own screen tech instead of trying to get it from others. They can also work on their battery while they are at it.

  46. I got the second batch of the EVOs and I went to a Sprint kiosk and compared the differences between the two. Yes, my EVO does not have the Novatek LCD. It have the Epson LCD.

    Pros: able to use the phone outdoors

    Cons: Youtube video quality in HQ lacking so is when on Wi-fi videos looks fuzzy, the wall screen with the bubbles of colors looks like stains, photos taken with the camera lacks quality (took two pictures of a building and one comes out looking almost natural while the other photo have a blue background), the back cover feels and looks cheap unlike the first batch.

    The new EVO is not the same as what was original promised by HTC. The second batch of EVOs have twice of a lesser quality with the low resolution and now the screen. The iPhone 4 beats the EVO in resolution quality and Youtube app.

    The downside of the EVO is the lack of battery life and screen resolution among a few other things. Now the EVO is just another phone nothing special about it.

  47. I compared my two Evo 002 to my brothers 003 (purchased one week ago) and side by side difference was minor at best. The 002 screens appear slightly darker at max brightness, showing more detail in light to grey gradients (buttons for example), where his showed more detail in dark colors. For movies, the 002 looked like it had more natural black’s at high brightness settings but when you knock the brightness setting back a notch the 003 looked great there too.

  48. actually, there are versions of the 0003 model that still have the old display i have tested several extensively and the most consistent difference is a lower fm radio quality on the 0003 models. the epson display is a little washed out but its colors and viewing angles are slightly better.

  49. I have an 003 build with the Novatek screen, so I’m not certain this is a case of switching suppliers mid-stream. It’s not unusual for manufacturers to use multiple suppliers to protect themselves from supply disruptions.

  50. mine is a 003 as well

  51. but has bad light leakage at the bottom i am returning it monday for a different cause it looks ugly in the dark..

  52. Can we stop this 002, 003 crap. There are 003 phones with the Nova display, too. Only way to tell is to run dmesg to see which display with being called on.

  53. The thing that bothers me is that on the htc site they’ve changed the description on it from “capacitive amoled screen blablabla..” to “Touch-sensitive screen with pinch-to-zoom capability”. Does this mean it isn’t capacitive anymore >:(?

  54. So, let’s recap. My future Incredible might have an AMOLED screen, or it might have a Sony TFT screen. Would I really care? Doubtful, since either one will be far superior to my Droid Eris’s screen. Also, the Sony TFT is actually the IPS display used on the iPhone 4? Heck, I’d probably almost prefer that, just so I can rub it in iPhone 4 owners’ faces, after they thought they had something so special. =) No, I wouldn’t really do that, but really, they’re both nice screens, with pros and cons. It stinks that HTC is having to do this, but if you were the ones trying to manufacture these phones, would you not take the option of selling more units with a slightly different screen, rather than not sell any units at all? I know if it were me, I’d choose the former, though I’d make sure to put some positive PR spin on it to keep the natives from getting restless, instead of sweeping it under the carpet. Hopefully HTC gets the PR spin right.

  55. @annoyed

    How do u get to the dmseg function? Or where can I find this? Just curious which screen I have.

  56. yea the weather is different also on the right the top left time is 1:01 and the big time is 1:02 what a idiot to try photoshopping and having the weather andtimes off

  57. Its not photoshopped. Why would anyone even go through the trouble…. So my bf and I both have 003. My screen is the nova and his the epson. Actually, the nova looks better because I thought his was burnt due to being less vibrant and that is how I came across this info of 2 different screens.

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