Quarterly Smartphone Market Decode
Smartphones are entering a stage of stagnant demand this year, as the replacement demands for 4G smartphones have slackened, while 5G smartphones are still in the offing. The shrinking difference among smartphone specs, continuously rising production costs, and lowered subsidies from carriers will all have a negative impact on this smartphone sales.
Given the capacity expansions for 64/72 - layer 3D NAND flash by suppliers and the demands for higher-density products, 3D NAND eMMC/UFS will become the market mainstream in 2018, relegating the 2D architecture to niche markets.
Although the extent of Apple employing AMOLED panelsis lower than originally expected in 2018, with a growth rate higher than 2017, the share of the AMOLED models in the total smartphone market is still likely to reach 30.3% during the year.
LTPS suffers acute price competition on oversupply, which, plus the demands for LTPS panels induced by the ir deployment in 18:9 models, will enhance the share of LTPS products to 39% in 2018.
In the mid -to low- tier markets, despite the pressures from LTPS and AMOLED specifications, the share of a-Si models may still stand at 30.7% in 2018, due to the effect of the 18:9 panels and the replacement demand in emerging markets.
LTPS prices dropped further on over capacity and it remains to be seen whether the drop will moderate in the second half.
With prices approaching that of 16:9 panels rapidly, quotes for 18:9 panels may substitute for quotes for 16:9 panels directly in the end.
Demands for rigid AMOLED panels slackened in 1Q18, which, plus rapid drop of LTPS prices, will trigger a price decline for AMOLED panels and facilitate its sales.
Apple will apply Face ID technology in iPhones massively in 2018, which, plus the Face Identification fad in the Android camp, will lead to a rapid increase of the technology's penetrationrate in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, fingerprint identification technology will witness a slight drop for the first time.
Samsung's technology of combining iris identification with facial recognition will retain some market share for a while.
Standalone VR devices are not the same as PC-based VR devices, but more like mobile devices. The product development are difficult even for the brands who have other VR development experience. The schedules of most standalone devices, especially high end products, are being delayed, so the most important products in 2018 are Oculus Go and HTC Vive Focus.
Xiaomi has helped Oculus to cut into the China market. More companies, such as Lenovo, HP or other Chinese brands, are planning on following this cooperation model.
VIVE Wave has convinced some Mobile VR brands and content providers to join HTC's side, but Xiaomi's participation is making HTC lose its advantage in the China market.