Flexible OLED display shortages may continue for several years, analysts claim

After the word got out about Apple's decision to move to flexible OLED displays with the upcoming iPhone 8, news of panel shortages started flying around pretty quickly, with some people going as far as claiming the company's upcoming premium won't make it in time for the traditional mid-September launch. But while that latter part is almost certainly false, flexible OLED shortages sure seem to be a real problem, and also one that will continue existing for the next few years, according to a new report from Chinese research firm Sigmaintell.

As it currently stands, Samsung is the biggest manufacturer of plastic OLED (POLED) panels — the same ones that make their way to the company's own flagships. But now that Apple's entered the game as well, Chinese manufacturers are reportedly gearing up to build their own POLED production lines starting next year, on which they will spend a total of 200 billion yuan (~$30 billion).

However, the researchers predict these lines may take around five years to stabilize, during which Samsung will remain the top manufacturer. However, LG Display is also aiming to supply Apple with OLED panels as soon as next year, which could potentially shake up the status quo quite a bit.

The firm also speculates that out of all devices shipped this year, 11 percent will utilize 'full-screen displays' (think tall aspect ratios and small bezels), while this figure could grow up to 80 percent by 2020. This move is also predicted to push manufacturers to find practical ways to include under-display fingerprint scanners in their devices, which could debut as early as next year.


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