Samsung plans to make a slidable display this year
Samsung Display is the market leader in OLED panels for smartphones, and they’ve extended their dominance into the emerging market for foldable displays, according to the analysts at Display Supply Chain Consultants. After using a few foldable devices, we’re convinced that foldables are the future, which is why the advancements in foldable display tech are exciting for us to watch unfold. Samsung’s foldable smartphones are so far ahead of the competition that other foldables feel like gen 1 products in comparison, and now they’re preparing to dip their toes into a new form factor: the slidable display.
In its Q4 2020 earnings call, KwonYoung Choi from the Business Planning department at Samsung Display said the company is planning to “qualify [its] presence in the display market through innovative form factors such as foldable and slidable displays.” Since Samsung Display is a panel vendor, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Samsung Electronics is planning to make a smartphone with a slidable display (though they’ve submitted a few patents hinting at it). Korean media recently reported that Samsung Display is beginning to supply foldable displays to Chinese smartphone makers. It’s possible that Samsung Display is making a slidable display only so it can compete with Chinese panel vendors like BOE and CSOT for business. BOE is apparently the panel vendor for OPPO’s rollable concept phone, the OPPO X 2021, while TCL’s CSOT is the vendor for TCL’s rollable phone concept. There’s also LG with its own rollable display in a phone supposedly headed to market this year. Clearly, a lot of smartphone vendors are exploring making a product with a rollable/slidable display, so it makes sense that Samsung Display wants to create its own offering.
Alternatively, it’s possible that the slidable display that Samsung is making is intended for a larger device, such as a TV. LG Display currently dominates the TV OLED market, and the company recently unveiled the first rollable TV — the LG Rollable OLED TV R. No doubt that Samsung won’t rest on its laurels, giving LG Display an easy win here. After all, during the earnings call, KwonYoung Choi talked about the company’s broader core strategies and outlook for 2021, touching upon the company’s display business across mobile, TV, and even automotive.
Here’s the full quote from the earnings call:
“Finally, I’ll share our outlook for the display market and the display business core strategies for 2021. For the Mobile Display business, we expect demand to rise for OLED display panels for high-end models and OLED penetration to increase in mid-range segments, driven by expansion of 5G smartphone market alongside recovery of smartphone demand. We will further solidify our leadership in OLED market by taking full advantage of our such market conditions.
Moreover, we will further differentiate our proprietary technologies for features such as adaptive refresh rates and lower power consumption to base for uncertainties caused by demand fluctuation under-prolonged impact of the pandemic and also aggressive market entry of competitors.
At the same time, in response to a growing demand in contactless communication and services, we will endeavor to diversify applications within areas such as note PCs, tablets and automotives by employing advantages of OLED, including ultra-thin and narrow bezel.
Also, we’ll promote market expansion for foldable displays. In the meantime, we’ll also qualify our presence in the display market through innovative form factors such as foldable and slidable displays.” – KwonYoung Choi from the Business Planning department at Samsung Display
Featured image: the OPPO X 2021, a concept smartphone with a rollable display