Samsung is allegedly seeking deals with OEMs in order to sell its exclusive folding display technology, according to reports out of the company’s home country citing unnamed sources from within the industry. Up until this point, Samsung has only been willing to part with its Super AMOLED and standard flexible displays, such as those the Korean tech giant markets as Infinity displays. However, the sources claim that the company now wants to sell panels that are expected to be used in its long-rumored and still unannounced bendable handset. What’s more, Samsung is specifically said to be targeting Chinese manufacturers such as OPPO and Xiaomi. Those are companies currently rumored to be working on folding smartphones of their own that will reportedly resemble the ZTE Axon M but with refinements to the hinge design and a single folding or bendable display instead of two.
The sources go further to claim that the reason for Samsung’s urgency is actually related to its desire to do well with its own bendable smartphone once that launches. More directly, the company is looking to grow the entire folding device ecosystem following its own launch. Conversely, it may even be looking to bring folding displays into the mainstream well before its own handset releases, which is currently rumored to happen in 2019 at the earliest. In either case, taking that approach would essentially ensure that folding smartphones are more quickly embedded in the market. The widespread presence of bending or folding devices would help inspire trust in the technology and at very least normalize it in the public conscious. More optimistically, it could lead to a relatively rapid increase in demand for those types of devices. That would, in turn, give Samsung an opportunity to capitalize on its experience working with the panels to deliver a more refined product and take the lion’s share of the folding phone market share from the start.
Although speculative, another possibility may be that Samsung just wants to bring down the overall cost of the displays by creating demand. That wouldn’t necessarily make them cheaper to manufacture but competing companies that buy into partnerships or deals would cover some of the production cost. Not only would that mean a more widespread dispersal of foldable devices more quickly. By saturating the market and bringing down costs, Samsung may be able to sell its own handsets at a lower cost and widen the audience for its handsets as a result.