Samsung says foldable OLED displays and Bixby will help drive the company’s growth this year in its Q4 earnings report released today. The company said it would adopt innovative technology like foldable OLED screens to further distinguish itself from competitors. Samsung also says it will enter new businesses related to AI and smart devices through an expansion of its much-maligned Bixby voice assistant technology.
Phones that unfold into seamless full-screen tablets have been long rumored, with numerous patents filed by different phone manufacturers including LG, Microsoft, and Samsung. But, there haven’t been any due to the lack of folding displays. Samsung has previously said it hopes to introduce a foldable phone sometime this year, but noted there were some problems to “overcome.” Now, with Samsung promoting foldable displays as a source of new revenue, we’re seeing the best sign yet that we’re close to finally seeing this folding Samsung concept — from 2014 — become a reality:
The company posted record earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017, driven by its chip-making business and the sales of its lucrative OLED displays for smartphones, many of which can be found in the iPhone X. For the fourth quarter of 2017, Samsung made KRW15.15 trillion ($14.24 billion) in operating profit and posted a profit of KRW53.65 trillion ($50.43 billion) for the full year. Its chip manufacturing arm was the top earner, causing the company to overtake Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue.
Its earnings in mobile, however, declined slightly because of a jump in marketing costs. Total smartphone shipments declined as well, though shipments for flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 8 increased from the last quarter. The mobile business posted an operating profit of KRW2.4 trillion ($2.26 billion).
The company expects to improve its earnings in the first quarter of this year, led by sales of its flagship mobile devices, including the launch of the Galaxy S9 phones next month. Sales of its ultra large-size TVs are also expected to continue to grow, with demand driven by sporting events including the Winter Olympics. Samsung also plans to expand its network solutions for 5G commercialization to Korea, the US, and Japan.