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Samsung Flogging Off Surplus OLED Screens After iPhone X Sales Collapse

The collapse in sales of the iPhone X is having a direct impact on Samsung, who are now trying to flog off tens of thousands of OLED display screens that were intended for the Apple device.

Currently the Korean manufacturer who makes parts for Apple phones is shopping manufacturers in an effort to offload excess production capacity they include those who have been slow to make the transition due to the high cost of an OLED panel.

“Samsung is increasingly selling OLED panels to outside clients,” said an official at an electronics trading company in Tokyo. Production of the iPhone X, whose sales have been sluggish, is expected to drop by half in the first three months of this year from the initial estimate of over 40 million units.

Samsung’s OLED smartphone panels are priced at over $100 per unit, including touch sensors. They can display colours in high resolution and can be bent to narrow the phone’s bezel sales executives claim.

The only problem is that the price is nearly twice that of LCDs used in the iPhone 8 Plus and several other smartphones who look to compete with the Samsung Galaxy 8 offering.

ChannelNews understands that the collapse in iPhone X sales has also impacted LG who also make OLED display panels for third parties.

Manufacturers of midrange smartphones that cannot absorb rising costs by passing them on to consumers are avoiding adopting OLED panels. Only 5-10% of smartphones made by Oppo and Vivo, China’s major smartphone makers, use OLED panels. The problem is the high cost. Such panels cost 40% more than LCD panels made of low-temperature polysilicon, which can show colours clearly.

Supply capacity is expected to grow worldwide. LG Display of South Korea is set to launch a new production line as early as this year, and China’s BOE Technology Group and Tianma Microelectronics have launched new factories with the assistance of government subsidies. Overall production capacity is expected to double by 2020 compared to the 2017 level. Samsung’s near dominance in the market for OLED smartphone panels — over 95% — will likely be lost.

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