In recent years, Samsung has been careful to kill the concept of OLED screens, claiming that its technology – various upgrades of LCD – is superior (yes, it never really made sense). But a new report claims that Samsung is about to team up with its biggest rival in the display sector, and buy OLED panels from it.
There is logic
According to Reuters, Samsung has signed a first-of-its-kind deal in which it will purchase 77-inch and 83-inch white OLED (WOLED) panels from LG. Very interestingly, the rumors about this deal in question began back in 2021, when a Korean website reported on a meeting between senior executives of the two companies, while at the same time there were reports that Samsung was developing its own OLED panels. It now appears that both reports were correct, if not particularly accurate.
Obviously, it’s fun to watch from the sidelines and have fun every time a technology company says “never” or kills competitors’ features and choices and then implements them itself. We’ve seen it happen with Apple time and time again, we’ve seen it happen to Samsung again and again of course (remember the commercial against removing the charger from the iPhone?) – but in the case of the OLED screens, as fun as it is to do it again, you can find the logic the technological.
From our conversations in the past with several companies in the screen market over the past few years, it would seem that the name of the game in the OLED field is the quality control phase. Initially, the new technology led to quite a few defective units still on the production line, and as these quantities decreased with the improvement of the technology, the price of the screens decreased and the OLED also entered the mainstream living room. Companies like LG and Sony (which buys panels from Sony) have also already stated that the burning phenomenon is no longer as common as it used to be, and have extended their warranty periods to prove that they stand behind these statements.
So you can also say that Samsung sat on the fence and waited until the technology was indeed mature enough to join the celebration, and it did do it with QD-OLED screens, which, ironically, come with a slightly different layer structure than basic OLED, which leads to high brightness levels More and better color control. Samsung was the first to provide QD-OLED displays, but not to itself, but to Sony – and eventually also launched its own QD-OLED screen, although Samsung Israel has not yet agreed to release such units for review, so we cannot yet testify to their quality.
Each needs another in today’s market
Samsung needs LG displays, because LG has the most experience in the market in the production of a variety of OLED panels in a variety of finish and quality levels. Samsung is currently producing for itself the most expensive type of OLED to produce today, and although it conquered the sales charts in the last decade with LCD screens, Samsung wants a respectable market share in the OLED field as well, where Chinese manufacturers have also begun to enter.
It can be assumed that with the panels it will purchase, Samsung will be able to launch OLED screens that are slightly more basic and at more accessible prices, so that it can expand its footprint in the field it has arrogantly neglected for years, perhaps overtaking Sony and thus occupying the 2nd place in global OLED sales. According to Reuters data, LG owns 54.6% of the OLED market, while Sony owns 26.1% (an amazing figure considering the prices of its screens) and Samsung with only 6.1%.
On the other hand, LG also very much needs this deal, which will allow it to operate its production plants at full capacity, after the demand for its products decreased slightly with the end of the closures and the return to normality. The company suffers from rather weak quarterly results, like quite a few companies in the technology sector, and such a large deal, which is valued at billions of dollars, can give it a boost it badly needs.
All this is happening as Samsung continues to heat up engines for what it claims will be the next revolution in television screens, the Micro LED, which contains millions of tiny inorganic LEDs that are independently controlled. That is, similar to the way OLED is projected, but with a much stronger brightness and without the risk of burning. Until these screens reach the average living room, it will take a few more years, in a process quite similar to the one that the OLED screens went through, but in the meantime, here is a free piece of advice for all technology companies: never say never.