The popularity of OLED display technology is expected to rise even further this year, with new reports now suggesting that numerous display manufacturers are preparing to compete with Samsung in the OLED space on a quest to acquire (larger) supply contracts from Apple. This could reportedly lead to some interesting outcomes, such as LG Display possibly becoming Apple's second largest OLED panel supplier before the end of the year, but as more display makers from China and Japan will hop on the OLED bandwagon, oversupply is also a risk, which may eventually be mitigated by OLED expanding its reaches into other markets.
LG Display has been one of the largest OLED display supporters over the past several years, competing with Samsung Display in this particular segment and pushing flexible display technology to new heights simultaneously with Korea's number one panel supplier. The company demonstrated a new rollable TV based on its flexible OLED tech at CES 2018. Now, as the popularity of OLED smartphone displays is on the rise in the wake of Apple's new iPhone, sources at Taiwan's Photonic Industry and Technology Development Association recently claimed that there is a high probability for LG Display to become Apple's second largest OLED display supplier in 2018, following Samsung Display. Meanwhile, tech giants including Sharp and Japan Display (JDI) are also said to increase their OLED panel production capacity starting with the second quarter of the year, and Sharp will reportedly use some of these panels for its own top-tier smartphone models planned to hit the shelves in 2018. Sharp is now owned by Foxconn Electronics – an important component supplier for Apple – and might also overtake JDI in the race for OLED supremacy this year. Previous reports suggested JDI and Sharp might join their efforts and establish an OLED alliance consisting only of Japanese display makers.
Although an increasing number of smartphones are beginning to rely on OLED panels, other reports now claim that supply will eventually be higher than the actual demand, which could have numerous consequences. Most importantly, excess panels might eventually be used by other device categories, meaning that the uses of OLED display technology could expand into other market areas in order to mitigate the negative effects of oversupply. Evidently, this could also lead to a more competitive space for display suppliers, some of which may eventually be forced to lower their prices in order to shed some of their stock. All in all, 2018 might be the year of OLED as more smartphones and consumer electronics could become dependent on it, but it remains to be seen how LG Display performs on this front in the next 12 months.