Organic Light-Emitting Diode or OLED panels promised to be the next step so far as smartphone displays were concerned, overruling the pre-existing and cost-effective Liquid Crystal Displays or LCD panels. While Samsung incorporated OLED panels in its smartphones, starting with Galaxy S1 back in 2010, Apple’s iPhone X, launched last year, was the first Apple device to use OLED displays. Samsung Electronics, which was supplying Apple with the OLED panels, may now face the problem of surplus production as iPhone X’s demand dwindles, compelling the conglomerate to slash production.
The initial sale of over 40 million units estimated for the iPhone X is expected to be halved by the third month of this year. A number of iPhone X devices started malfunctioning weeks after its launch, and users complained of overheating and unaccountable data drainage. These factors, combined with the high price of the model (starting at $999), have affected its sales, obliging manufacturers to reduce production considerably. With its top client, Apple, facing weak demand, Samsung has been left to fend for itself, and an official at an electronics trading company in Tokyo has said, “Samsung is increasingly selling OLED panels to outside clients.”
This attempt, however, is also being negated by the fact that other smartphone makers who were expected to replace LCD panels with OLED panels are transitioning slowly due to the price of the OLED panels (Samsung OLED panels with touch sensors are priced at over $100 per unit). Furthermore, with Chinese OLED panel makers increasing production, Samsung is also facing fierce competition so far as price is concerned.
Lastly, using OLED panels on their own devices makes them more expensive; hence, the number of OLED panels Samsung internally sources for their own devices has also fallen.
Using OLED panels makes it difficult to compete with rivals on price. – Hiroshi Hayase, senior director at IHS Markit
Thus, while OLED displays can display colors in high resolution and can be bent to narrow the phone’s bezel, they are failing to attract takers owing to the high price.