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Smartphone Makers Are Scrambling to Secure OLED Displays in the Wake of Apple’s Edge-to-Edge iPhone 8

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With the world’s top two smartphone manufacturers, Apple and Samsung, expected to launch uber-premium, feature-packed handsets this year — and Samsung, in particular, being the globally-dominant, “go-to” supplier for other smartphone makers seeking next-generation, OLED display panels — a new report is now suggesting that the already limited supply of advanced displays is becoming all the more herniated as smartphone makers, big and small, are scrambling to secure OLED orders for the many devices that are expected to launch this year.

According to a report published earlier this week in DigiTimes, several Chinese smartphone manufacturers — including Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei, for example — have just recently climbed the charts and secured the remaining three positions in the top five global smartphone vendors, by volume. And so, as the race to deliver some truly innovative, next-generation smartphone tech continues to heat up between Apple and Samsung, the “underdogs,” like Vivo, Oppo, and Huawei, are apparently trying to wiggle their way in right behind Samsung in an attempt to get their hands on some — if any — of the remaining OLED supply that’s expected to be available this year.

Of course, while Samsung is expected to release a powerful new Galaxy S8 handset at next month’s Mobile World Congress, the company has also been tapped by Apple to supply the Cupertino-company with as many as 100 million curved OLED displays this year — ahead of what many analysts believe will be one of the most disruptive years for iPhone sales since the device first launched a decade ago.

“Inspired by market rumors indicating that Apple will adopt OLED panels for its next generation iPhone devices in 2017, China-based smartphone vendors, and others alike, have rushed to secure production capacity for small- and mid-size OLED panels, a move which will definitely cause a shortage in OLED panel supplies in 2017,” a source with deep knowledge of Apple’s Far East supply chain dealings told DigiTimes.

And yet, with so many smartphone makers quickly trying to secure OLED display orders suddenly, one might be inclined to wonder just how many OLED-equipped smartphones will be launching this year? Recent, market-specific handset releases from the likes of Vivo and Xiaomi, respectively, paint a relatively broad and powerful picture of what might be in store for 2017 — that maybe 2017 will be the official year of the OLED display.

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