Samsung Electronics, the world's leading technology
company by revenue, is likely accelerating the launch of its
next-generation flagship Galaxy smartphone - which may come with a
breakthrough unbreakable screen.
Codenamed "Project J" after mobile
division chief JK Shin, development of the new Galaxy S IV could be
aimed for release by as early as April, according to analysts and tech
And, as smartphones increasingly look alike - the
converging form factor - an unbreakable screen could be a big selling
point for the Galaxy, which is battling Apple Inc's iPhone to lead the $200 billion plus smartphone market.
Galaxy S IV is also expected to have bigger and better display,
powerful quad-core processing power and a 13-megapixel camera, with
picture density improving to 441 pixels per inch (ppi), a big
improvement from the Galaxy S III's 306 ppi and better than the iPhone
5's 326 ppi.
"Looking to the first half of 2013, we see evidence
of Samsung likely accelerating the release of the Galaxy S IV - compared
with May (this year) for the Galaxy S III," said UBS analyst Nicolas
Gaudois. "We believe preparations for volume manufacturing of
unbreakable plastic substrate displays continue. All in all, we could
see a strong products push in the high-end in the first half, followed
by other releases."
Samsung declined to comment.
major backer of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, is a
frontrunner in developing unbreakable screens, as OLED panels can
replace glass substrate with plastic material. Down the road, mobile
gadgets could be flexible as well as unbreakable.
they'll have unbreakable and flexible displays. Either the Galaxy S IV
or S V will have unbreakable and even possibly flexible and foldable
displays by 2014. That's going to be a game-changer," said Mark Newman,
an analyst at Stanford Bernstein in Hong Kong.
Both Newman and
Gaudois are ranked as 5-star analysts, the top ranking, by Thomson
Reuters StarMine for their recommendations on Samsung.
would also be a game-changer for Samsung, which has built its
reputation as a 'fast follower' of others' technologies and designs.
South Korean consumer electronics giant faces off against Apple again
on Thursday in a U.S. courtroom for a follow-up ruling on whether it
copied some of its U.S. rival's patents and should pay the $1 billion
awarded to Apple by jurors in an August verdict.
Samsung wants the
verdict overturned, while Apple wants the damages to be increased and
Samsung phones banned in the United States.
Since that landmark
verdict, however, Samsung shares have gained 14 percent to record highs,
while Apple shares - dented by a maps app fiasco, tight supply of its
iPhone 5 and ever tougher competition in the mobile market - have
slipped by nearly a fifth, wiping more than $120 billion off its market
Barring any extra costs related to the U.S. ruling, Samsung
should report a fifth straight record profit this quarter, as profits
from its component business recover and more than offset thinning
margins on mobile phones - squeezed by higher year-end holiday marketing
"Samsung's strength extends beyond cool products,
they're also a leader in the technology behind these devices. We see
further upside to Samsung's stock as success in smartphones continues
and chips and display profits also rebound," said Newman. "In
smartphones, the opportunity is for Samsung to take more share from
Apple in the premium segment, where Apple is still dominant."
estimates Samsung will ship around 22.5 million of its Galaxy S III and
Note II devices in the quarter to end-December, up from 20 million in
July-September. Shin said in November that Galaxy S III sales would hit
40 million by the end of this month.
In a worst-case scenario for
Samsung, U.S. judge Lucy Koh could treble the damages payable to Apple,
given the jury in August found Samsung "wilfully" infringed some Apple
"That would be a major blow to Samsung's fundamentals and
overall investor sentiment, but it's not the most likely scenario,"
said Young Park, a 4-star StarMine analyst at Woori Investment &
© Thomson Reuters 2012