Samsung Display is looking to supply its new Dynamic AMOLED foldable panel to third-party smartphone manufacturers, claims a report from South Korean ETNews. Apparently, the OEM shipped sample units of its foldable display to both Apple and Google in an attempt to secure them as clients, which indicates there's a possibility that both tech giants might release new devices with bendable screens in the near future.
The report mentions Samsung Display is capable of manufacturing 200,000 Dynamic AMOLED foldable panels every month, or 2.4 million units per year. The Samsung Galaxy Fold isn’t expected to cover this figure because it will be marketed as a luxury device accompanied by a high price tag, so it won’t match more conventional devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 in terms of shipments; not even close.
But Samsung Display is reportedly willing to expand its foldable display production capacity at up to 10 million units per year, assuming that demand for the technology will increase. Until then, the tech giant’s display arm is looking for more clients to secure sales for the 2.4 million yearly units, and sample units have already been sent to Apple and Google.
ETNews claims that these sample displays have a 7.2-inch diagonal, making them 0.1-inch smaller than the panel employed by the Samsung Galaxy Fold. That’s not to say that Apple and Google are necessarily planning on launching 7.2-inch foldable smartphone-tablet hybrids. There’s no information as to whether Samsung secured either one of the two companies as new clients for its foldable screen technology, so only time will tell if the Korean OEM’s efforts will bear fruit.
The report also mentioned that Samsung Display sent sample panels to both Huawei and OPPO last year, however, according to at least one recent report, the AMOLED panel adopted by the Huawei Mate X comes from China-based BOE Technology, not Samsung’s display arm.
In the meantime, Google has given up on the Android tablet segment and shifted its focus on Chrome OS-powered notebooks and convertibles, but perhaps the tech giant is considering joining this emerging foldable segment, which could mean that Android OS might evolve to encompass new features designed specifically for the new form factor. Samsung revealed previously that it worked together with Google to bring App Continuity to the Galaxy Fold, so Google already has some experience with the concept.
As for Apple, the OEM’s iPads are still going relatively strong especially compared to the declining Android tablet market, so it’s somewhat difficult to believe that the Cupertino-giant would be interested in creating a smartphone-tablet hybrid and risk cannibalizing its iPad sales. On the other hand, the OEM could technically come up with its own design based on foldable screens, one which would focus less on the smartphone part and more on redefining the tablet. After all, the Samsung Galaxy Fold without the secondary 4.6-inch exterior screen would technically be just a foldable tablet because it keeps the 7.3-inch panel on the inside and opens like a book.
It remains to be seen if the foldable form factor will gain enough traction so that more OEMs will jump on the bandwagon and Samsung Display will be willing to increase its manufacturing capacity. For now, the OEM seems to be looking for additional clients.