- Samsung is reportedly ready to offer foldable displays to other companies.
- They are similar to what you see in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Z Flip.
- Chinese phone manufacturers might not adopt the technology until the second half of 2021.
You may not need to buy a Galaxy Z Fold or Z Flip to get one of Samsung’s foldable displays. According to Ars Technica, Korean industry publication ETNews claims Samsung is ready to offer its folding screen technology to companies other than the company’s own mobile unit.
Samsung will reportedly make 1 million foldable displays available in both horizontal (Galaxy Z Flip) and vertical (Z Fold) versions. That might not sound like a lot when big phone brands sell tens of millions of devices every quarter, but it could mean significant growth for a very young market for foldable devices.
See also: The best foldable phones you can get
There may be a lot of customers already. “Several” Chinese phone companies have developed foldable hardware with Samsung Display, an undisclosed industry metric said ETNews. All of these third-party phones would ship in the second half of 2021 and could include products from Oppo and Vivo.
It wouldn’t be a surprising strategy. Although Samsung reserves its display technology (including foldable displays) for its own products initially, its long-term success depends on selling components to third parties. In 2017, for example, Samsung was able to make a greater profit from making iPhone X displays and chips than from making the Galaxy S8. Wider access would help Samsung recoup its costs without sacrificing its lead.
The biggest challenge for Samsung is to boost the foldable phone market after that initial rush. Chinese deals could help lower the cost of these displays through aggressive pricing and scale. However, companies still have to convince people that folding devices are primarily worth buying – variety doesn’t matter if you’re still interested in the Galaxy S21 or the latest Oppo Find X. It could be years before folding phones hit the mainstream market, even if Samsung’s rumor is paying off.