Samsung reportedly prowling for new OLED buyers after iPhone X sales underperform

Working under the assumption that the iPhone X would sell like hotcakes, Samsung set set off to produce and deliver a huge number of OLED (or organic light-emitting diode) screens for Apple's 10th anniversary handset.

Although the new phone was Apple’s biggest earner, it actually sold less units than any other iPhone model before it.

This low demand has caused Apple to reportedly reduce its iPhone X production by half, leaving Samsung with a surplus of OLED panels which the South Korean company is now unable to sell. 

According to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, Samsung is looking for new buyers who could potentially use the OLED panels on their own handsets. 

Unfortunately, the potential buyers are the Chinese manufacturers who produce handsets for the budget or mid-range market and prefer to stick to low-cost LCD displays.

Money matters

The iPhone X was one of the most expensive handsets launched in 2017, and its costly OLED displays were a part of the reason why — Samsung’s OLED panels cost over $100 each, which is more than twice the cost of the company’s liquid crystal displays.

To sprinkle salt on the proverbial wound, Samsung is also facing stiff competition from rival manufacturers. The South Korean giant currently controls about 95% of the OLED market, but that could soon drop with LG Display ramping up production this year, as are Chinese manufacturers like BOE Technology Group and Tianma Micro-electronics.

One way to cope with the surplus is for Samsung to use the panels in its own products — whether the company will be able to repurpose the displays for its own phones is another story, especially as it's currently developing its first foldable phone.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.