Samsung's new mobile phone may re-use LCD screens, OLED prices are still unresolved

by:Kimeery     2021-06-04

South Korean local media ETNews reported that Samsung’s planned Galaxy A2019 product line will be replaced with LCD screens on some products. Among them, A30/40/70/80 will use AMOLED screens, and A50/60 will use LCD screens.

Since 2011, Samsung has been shutting down the LCD screen production line in a planned way, instead focusing its main efforts on the production of OLED and AMOLED screens. Almost all of Samsung's mobile phones released in recent years use more 'futuristic' OLED and AMOLED screens. Now, Samsung has occupied more than 90% of the AMOLED market and 96.5% of the OLED market. Now that Samsung has taken the initiative to reduce the screen configuration of new mobile phones from OLED to LCD, Samsung's move is surprising.

ETNews analysis believes that the main reason for Samsung's abandonment of OLED screens is cost. The moderately flexible OLED flexible screen display technology has the advantages of self-luminescence, wide viewing angle, almost infinitely high contrast, low power consumption, and extremely high response speed. But under the same size, the purchase cost of OLED flexible screens is almost twice as high as that of LCD screens. This has also led to the high prices of mobile phones using OLED screens.

'The new GalaxyA series with LCD screens may have a stronger price competitive advantage in the face of Chinese mobile phone brands.' ETNews commented.

Data from five market research institutions including IDC shows that in the second quarter of 2018, Huawei’s global smartphone shipments exceeded Apple for the first time, increasing by 40% year-on-year, becoming the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, only lagging behind Samsung. Although Samsung is still in the first place, its market share is gradually decreasing, its shipments have decreased by 8% year-on-year, and its export value is also gradually decreasing.

Samsung’s abandonment of OLED screens is just a microcosm of the decline of the industry. Apple has used the relatively mature LCD technology in the panel industry from the first generation of iPhone to iPhone 8, and only used OLED technology from the iPhone X. In 2016, Apple and Samsung reached an order for the supply of 100 million OLED screens. In 2017, an additional 60 million OLED screens were added. The 160 million OLED screens that Apple purchased from Samsung for the iPhone X are worth $11.3 billion.

Apple’s large investment was once regarded as the hope for the revitalization of the OLED industry, but the flaws of the product itself have not been resolved. In addition to being too expensive, quality is also problematic. For example, the 'burnin' problem that occurs after the iPhone X uses this screen-after displaying a new image on the screen, the previous display content will 'stick' to the screen. This phenomenon occurs when the image is static for a long time, the picture has a strong contrast between light and dark, or after a long time playing a still picture, such as a standby screen saver.

Apple has to advise users to solve the problem by themselves through very primitive means, such as using the automatic brightness adjustment function, setting the iPhone X to turn off the display when not in use, and avoiding displaying static at maximum brightness for a long time. Images etc.

What’s more terrible is that the iPhone X is not as popular as expected, which makes the strong industry pulling power that OLED originally expected to become the end of the battle. In March of this year, a Bloomberg article stated that the high price of the iPhone X has boosted Apple's revenue, but the overall iPhone sales have fallen short of the previous year. The number of OLED screens Samsung supplied to Apple is actually only half of what was expected.

Bloomberg quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that major OLED manufacturers have begun to consider production cuts and price cuts.

In the new iPhone series released this year, the low-cost mobile phone iPhone XR has already used LCD screens. Moreover, Apple has achieved the same effect as LCD for Samsung by bending the screen to reduce the bottom frame on the LCD screen. Although the pixel density of an LCD screen called Liquid Retina HD Display is not as good as that of OLED, it is more realistic than OLED in terms of color reproduction.

The advantage of OLED lies in the color contrast and pure black. Because of the principle, LCD still emits light when displaying black. However, the Liquid Ritina LCD screen of the iPhone XR is still dark enough on the front side after being turned off, so that it will not be white.

In addition, the MicroLED screen, which is called a new generation of LED technology, is gradually becoming an object of interest for Apple.

MicroLED, like OLED, is composed of light-emitting diodes. This means that both are screens with 'self-luminous' technology. Each red, green, and blue sub-pixel emits light on its own, unlike LCD screens that require a dedicated backlight. Therefore, MicroLED displays can provide the same contrast and color performance as OLEDs, and can be kept thin and light in production.

Apple has been researching MicroLED technology for some time. As early as 2014, Apple acquired LuxVue, a company that specializes in developing this technology. In March of this year, Bloomberg News reported that Apple is investing heavily in MicroLED display technology and is producing a small number of MicroLED screens for testing purposes in a secret factory near its headquarters. The project code is T159.

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