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Galaxy S21 could ditch Samsung displays for cheaper Chinese OLEDs

The next generation of Galaxy S smartphones could ditch Samsung’s own displays in favor of cheaper Chinese OLEDs – at least partially. Following almost a full month’s worth of preliminary negotiations with BOE, Samsung Electronics today sent an official request for quotation to the Beijing-based manufacturer, industry insiders claim. The timing of the move coincides with the current development status of Samsung’s 2021 flagships which may be marketed as the Galaxy S21 series. Namely, quote requisition applications in the smartphone industry are usually sent out about half a year prior to trial production runs.

Sources close to the company claim Samsung only intends to rely on BOE for a portion of the Galaxy S21 range. While it’s unclear whether the lineup will once again feature three distinct models, there’s seemingly no chance for next year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra follow-up to feature a BOE display. That’s because the Chinese OLED panels Samsung wants to order aren’t intended to support 120Hz refresh rates, a key selling point of the current flagship generation.

Base Galaxy S21 model may miss out on 120Hz refresh rate

Instead, the quotation request sent to BOE only concerns a 90Hz product specification, Korean insiders claim. Samsung has already been working on this compromise solution for some time now, much like its rivals in the smartphone space. A quotation request has been sent for 120Hz and 60Hz panels to Samsung Display as well.

The lower end of the Galaxy S21 range may hence miss out on a key display feature supported by the entirety of the previous handset generation. That potential discrepancy appears vaguely similar to how the base Galaxy Note 10 model delivered a resolution downgrade compared to its 2018 predecessor. Samsung Display will still supply 120Hz-ready OLEDs for the Galaxy S21, as per the same source.

All things considered, it appears Samsung’s global OLED dominance is finally plateauing as its display operations are now even losing out on business from sister companies. The Galaxy S21’s partial shift toward BOE is almost certainly meant to reduce manufacturing costs of the next-gen Android flagships, something Samsung now deems imperative given the current mobile market instabilities.

Some industry insiders also view this as a move from Samsung Electronics to try and get Samsung Display to lower panel prices. The threat of having some orders being replaced by BOE just might work and the company may not resort to sourcing the OLEDs from China. If this is indeed a bluff and Samsung Display decides to call it, then we may get the first Samsung flagship with a Chinese OLED screen next year.

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