Samsung could be about to completely revolutionize smartphone manufacturing
Smartphone manufacturing giant Samsung has said it will launch a flexible display for smartphones that can fold in half, by the end of 2015.
According to reports, Samsung Display VP, Lee Changhoon said the company will “secure production capacity of 30,000 to 40,000 [flexible displays each month] by the end of next year.”
“We plan to provide consumers with a product that has a flexible display by the end of the year. However, nothing has been decided on the finished product,” he said.
Samsung is already leading the pack when it comes to display technology - we have already seen a curved smartphone display on the Galaxy Note Edge - however a flexible display could mean Samsung is planning a return to the more traditional clamshell design where the screen itself folds in two.
Lee added that Samsung also aims to cut the cost of AMOLED production by the end of next year to help tempt more customers into buying its products. “One of the superior things about AMOLED is that it can become cheaper to produce compared to LCD. We are prepared to compete directly with LCD,” he said. “AMOLED is similar in price to LCD, but better capability wise.”
This news follows yesterday's announcement that Samsung will be cutting its range of smartphones by up to 30 percent in 2015, resulting in a reduction in the number of models available. The company plans to strengthen its core line-up.
Speaking at the company's Investor Forum 2014 in New York, Robert Yi, senior vice president and head of investor relations at Samsung Electronics said that lowering the model number “will allow us a chance to lower the prices of [remaining models] through mass production. In low to mid-end products, price is the most important, and for high-end products, it is innovation.”
This focus on innovation will no doubt include the inevitable move to flexible displays, but Lee also hinted that we could see a smartphone with two curved sides before long that will replace the Galaxy Note Edge. “Consumers' preference will decide whether one side will become the band, or either sides. We are prepared to make customized designed products based on consumer needs,” he said.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.