Samsung reports strong OLED Earnings, weak Smartphone Sales and Predicts a Smartphone that Folds-Out to a Tablet
A Korean report this morning says that Samsung posted a record operating profit of 17.57 trillion won (US$15.40 billion) in the July-September period, up by 3 trillion won from a year earlier, thanks mainly to its robust DRAM chip business.
The tech giant forecasts that its DRAM business will remain on an upward trajectory in the long term although the market could experience price fluctuations in the coming months.
The company’s semiconductor business was the largest contributor to the improved earnings as it accounted for nearly 80 percent of the tech giant’s entire operating income.
The tech firm explained that high demand for 64-layer 3D V-NAND flash memory chips and 10-nanometer-class DRAM chips drove profits.
The Samsung press released noted that "For the Display Panel Business, despite unfavorable supply-demand conditions in the LCD market, earnings improved on-year thanks to higher sales of flexible OLED panels to major customers. On a quarterly basis, earnings significantly grew due to increased utilization of flexible OLED panel capacity." Apple is likely to thank for that with their new iPhone XS models.
Samsung's smartphone division made an operating profit of 2.22 trillion won, down from 3.29 trillion won a year earlier. For calendar Q4, their press release notes that "Samsung expects its smartphone shipments to rise during the year-end peak season, particularly for its enhanced mass product lineup including the new Galaxy A7 and A9. However, earnings are forecast to decrease due to increased marketing expenses." That usually translates to Samsung offering 2 for 1 phone sales and giving away cheap headsets with the purchase of a new smartphone.
The report further noted that "Samsung said it would continue to diversify its customers for 5G network equipment, while developing advanced 3D sensing solutions and under-display fingerprint sensors for smartphones."
In July Patently Mobile reported on a Samsung Patent covering ultrasonic based fingerprint scanning for under the display.
The Korean report added that "On the display front, Samsung said it would try to broaden the customer base with high-end products like quantum dot and 8K displays, while rolling out new products, such as foldable panels and displays for vehicles.
The Korea firm is expected to showcase its first foldable smartphone at a developer conference scheduled to be held on Nov. 7-8 in San Francisco.
As for the smartphone business, Samsung plans to deploy differentiated features in mid-range and low-end smartphones as well as launch 5G-enabled and foldable smartphones," which is exactly what we reported on last week.
During their conference call, the Korean report noted that Samsung touched on the folding phone officially this way:
Q: What are the highlights of the planned foldable smartphone and when will it hit the shelves?
A: With the new form factor, the foldable smartphone will embrace both portability and a large screen size. It is a smartphone, but becomes a table PC when unfolded.
Samsung interestingly didn't provide a launch date for their foldable smartphone. While the end-product's form factor is unknown at present, a new Samsung patent filing for a 'fold-out' design allowing a smartphone to unfold to a tablet was reported on this past Sunday. Our cover graphic reflects that design.
Lastly, the report noted that Samsung will try to talk with developers to optimize applications for the new phone, and unveil the details, like the UI and UX, during the developer conference scheduled for November 7-8 in San Francisco.