Penetration Rate of Full-screen Smartphone Will Surge to 45% in 2018, Says TrendForce

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 has concluded and major smartphone vendors at the event have unveiled their smartphone lineup for this year, revealing the development trends in smartphone technology and specifications. According to WitsView, a division of TrendForce, full-screen smartphones will become the trend in market this year. The pursuit of narrower bezels and notch designs has emerged, bringing about solutions of under-display fingerprint sensor and applications combining camera modules and facial recognition.

Samsung S9 and S9+ (Image: Reuters)

Smartphone panel makers enter a new round of specification war, full-screen and notch design become the market focus

According to Boyce Fan, research director of WitsView, full-screen smartphones have become the focus of market since 2017. The new models launched by Samsung and Apple have led to designs of higher screen-to-body ratio. Smartphone brands will be changing the overall appearance of their devices as a way to upgrade hardware specifications, especially in the situation that smartphone market goes saturated and replacement purchases decrease. In addition to Samsung, LG Electronic and many Chinese brands who already have active layout, even Sony, who tends to be more conservative, has officially launched its full-screen flagship model in MWC this year. WitsView expects that the penetration rate of full-screen models in the all smartphones will rise rapidly to 44.6% in 2018, and reach 90% in 2021.

Notch design is another focus for vendors this year since Apple released iPhone X with notch design and 3D facial recognition in 2017. Some panel makers are actively purchasing panel cutting equipment to meet the different needs of clients in product development. “The positioning and penetration of products are influenced by patent issues of notch design, consumers’ acceptance of it, as well as the manufacturing difficulty and derivative costs of notch design”, says Fan. Therefore, WitsView estimates that the penetration rate of models with notch design in smartphones will be 15.7% in 2018 and 26.9% in 2021.

To-be-established standard for 5G telecommunication is expected to bring a new wave of replacement purchase

Fan also points out that the life cycle of 4G telecommunication standard has entered the middle and final stages. The trend of large-scale replacement purchases in the past 3 to 4 years is slowing down, so the market has shifted the focus to emerging 5G technology. WitsView notes that European and American manufacturers used to initiate the drafting of communication protocol. However, with the rise and expansion of Chinese manufacturers, they have also actively participated in the formulation of 5G standard so as to seize market opportunities. The 5G standard has significant improvements in bandwidth and Internet speed, indicating the coming age of all-connected. At the same time, with improvements in computing power of mobile devices, more diverse and new applications will be created in fields of AI, AR/VR, etc.

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