Samsung makes the best smartphone displays. In October 2008, Samsung launched its first smartphone with OLED, and the device was called Samsung 17110. Samsung’s display market has grown a lot in the past decade.
Interestingly Samsung wasn’t the first one to the market with OLED, it was Nokia with N95. They beat Samsung by just one month. But it was Samsung who popularised the OLED technology for smartphones and is literally ruling the display industry ever since.
Samsung’s display market
After 9 years of Samsung’s successful marketing of OLED, Apple finally decided to go for superior display technology and sourced OLEDs from Samsung for the iPhone X. At that time Samsung was the lone supplier for OLEDs for the iPhones and also for most of the flagships.
Soon apple realised there mistake on iPhone X sales down and it’s because of its overpriced. The following year, Apple diversified its supply chain of display components and chose LG as the second display supplier for the iPhone XS and XS Max.
The 2019 iPhones will also have Samsung and LG as the display suppliers. Now, it looks like Apple wants to get rid of Samsung as its biggest OLED supplier. Well, it’s because of the high display prices that Samsung is charging.
For example, it took $370 for Apple to make the iPhone X and the display was the most expensive It accounted for $110 or 30% of the total cost which is a lot. The cost rose to $120 the following year for the XS Max because of the larger display.
BOE – Chinese display maker
BOE, a Chinese display company which is Samsung’s biggest display competitor, is ready to supply OLED to Apple for 20% cheaper according to industry experts. So now Apple is negotiating with BOE raising the possibility that Apple could source this advanced display technology from China for the first time.
It’s worth mentioning that BOE already supplies LCDs to Apple. The MacBooks and iPads have a display made by this Chinese company. Also, BOE makes displays for Huawei, Dell, HP, and More. So this is not good news for Samsung by any means. The display is one of Samsung’s main businesses and they make billions each year.
Apple is their biggest customer of Samsung and Samsung made billions from Apple since 2017. And with the rumour that Apple is going all-in with OLEDs next year(this year too), it’s certainly going to make an impact on Samsung revenues in the upcoming years.
Also, this isn’t good news for Apple fans either because like I’ve said, Samsung makes the best OLEDs. Whereas, BOE just makes copies of Samsung Amoled and they haven’t spent money on R&D department like Samsung. So with experience and learnings from the failure Samsung have very good knowledge of make market-leading technology especially on OLEDs.
On the other hand, BOE has already started making their own OLED displays and even curved displays, which some of the Chinese makers use to reduce the overall cost. If a Chinese company can remake Samsung decade of work in just a few years
If they can do that it’s also possible that they can make quality OLEDs which is equivalent to Samsung’s display. Samsung makes the best OLEDs on the market which I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to match, not today at least. So let’s see how this is going to turn out both for Samsung and Apple.