Sharp and Japan Display are moving aggressively to compete with Samsung and LG to provide OLED screens for high-end iPhones in the coming months, according to a report out of Taiwan this morning.
Sharp, which is owned by Foxconn, and Japan Display, a joint venture by Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba, hope to take on Samsung, which remains Apple’s lone supplier of OLED panels. LG will begin shipments of OLED panes for the iPhone in the second half of this year, 9To5Mac reported earlier this month.
The latest development, which was initially reported by DigiTimes and picked up on by 9to5Mac, has Sharp churning out OLED screens as early as the second quarter of 2018, with screens from Japan Display to follow. “The overall OLED panel production capacity from panel makers in Korea, Japan and China will definitely far surpass that of actually demand in coming years leading to oversupply of the panels,” DigiTimes reported, citing anonymous sources.
Apple has been scrambling to diversify its portfolio of OLED panel makers to meet demand for its iPhone X, which has seen constrained stocks due to manufacturing problems. Google last year was reportedly looking to invest $880 million or more in LG Display to boost production of OLED screens for its Pixel lineup.
Vendors of high-end phones are increasingly looking to OLED screens rather than LCD products. Samsung recently secured a $4.3 billion deal to supply OLED screens for the next iPhone, according to multiple reports, building on a previous agreement to supply 100 million OLED screens for the device. The iPhone 8 has long been rumored to be Apple’s first device to feature an OLED screen, and Samsung reportedly began ramping up production of OLED displays by more than 50% last year to meet demand from Apple and other smartphone vendors.