Obsolescence: Should You be Worried?

For many years, Engineers have tried to keep up with their LCD components going obsolete. Let’s be honest, it can be a daunting task keeping up with the current technological advances. Many technologies experience obsolescence rather quickly to pave way for new and improved technology.

Engineers have found a way to adapt to these exponentially increasing advancements. The current solution? Coffee. With a mug full of coffee and our blood stream flowing with caffeine, there is nothing we engineers can’t keep up with. Luckily, FocusLCDs also has an alternative, heart healthy solution to coffee.

Focus’s goal is to make LCDs simple®. Simple to locate, simple to order, and simple to integrate. We supply LCDs that seldom go obsolete. No engineer wants to revisit an old design to locate a replacement component. Why? Here are four good reasons.

  1. The piece price of your display will most likely increase.
  2. You may need to update your product’s firmware.
  3. It might require another meeting with marketing.
  4. You could spend that time drinking coffee.

Below is a breakdown of LCD technologies and their tendency to go obsolete.

Segment LCD

Almost impossible to go obsolete due to their simplistic design: glass, fluid, a few pins and a cable. All segment LCDs are custom and have a one-time tooling cost, but once that is paid, you can buy these displays for years to come.

Character LCD and Graphic LCD

Very low probability of reaching obsolescence. Character and Graphic LCDs have been in production for many years and very few components ever change. Their Bill of Material is simple: PCB, glass, metal bezel and a controller/driver(C/D) that is manufactured by several suppliers.

Also, we always carry several of these in stock at all times, so there is little to no lead time delivery.


TFTs are the multi-color displays seen on laptops, tablets and medical equipment, ranging from 1.4” to 10.” They come in standard sizes and have been in production for years. There is little tendency to go obsolete, but these displays have a controller/driver (C/D) and it is possible that the display can become obsolete in time. When this occurs, Focus LCDs can usually produce a drop in equivalent and will provide replacement samples to all users of the display.


FocusLCDs does not currently produce very many OLEDs. There are too few suppliers and to match the current level of demand. (Note from the editor: We now offer a variety of OLED options, and we do not expect obsolescence any time soon!) A specific display may be popular now, meaning low cost and short lead times, but in a year or two, the supply may dry up.