A recent report citing anonymous industry sources claims that the ongoing shortage of smartphone displays will continue to affect the market next year. This is due to the fact that an increasing number of OEMs require full-screen panels with an 18:9 aspect ratio for their upcoming devices and suppliers are having difficulties in meeting the high demand of each individual client whose requirements are becoming more personalized in accordance with the varying designs employed by new full-screen smartphone models.
Unsurprisingly, each smartphone manufacturer has different requirements for their displays, however, because a large portion of conventional smartphone panels have shared the same characteristics over the past few years, display manufacturers have had the ability to supply different clients with the same panels as long as their requirements – such as size and resolution - would match. However, with 18:9 panels emerging as one of the most popular design changes in the mobile world, it’s becoming increasingly rare for a display panel to share the exact same technical aspects and dimensions with another, and as a result, display manufacturers will rarely have the opportunity to supply two different smartphone models with the same batch. This puts a damper on the supply capabilities of numerous display manufacturers, with the trend itself being expected to continue throughout 2018.
Sources also add that another reason why the supply of 18:9 panels will be outmatched by demand lies in the fact that the manufacturing of 18:9 displays requires 20 percent additional glass substrates compared to more conventional 16:9 panels. Evidently, this will likely affect supply to a certain degree regardless of whether some panels will be identical to others. Additionally, sources say that the prices of full-screen 18:9 displays will increase by a double-digit percentage in the third quarter of 2017 and will continue to be on the rise throughout the rest of the year. At the moment, one of the biggest shifts in the supply and demand of smartphone panels is attributed to Apple whose upcoming iPhone X will be its first model to adopt an OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a unique form factor with an unusual cutout at the top. The display employed by the iPhone X is a prime example of how a particular smartphone can require a personalized panel that is unlikely to share key characteristics with another module.