Smartphone sales to double

Steve Dinneen
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GLOBAL shipments of smartphones may grow 50 per cent this year and drive explosive expansion in high-end display sales over the next five years, according to Samsung.

Samsung has gone into overdrive producing seven times the number of ultra-thin mobile screens used in high-end smartphones than it did last year.

But the firm’s mobile display executive Lee Woo-jong said: “We may continue to fail to meet all customer requirements, even after expanding capacity.”

Lee forecast shipments of overall mobile devices such as handsets and digital media players would grow to around 2.1bn and 2.2bn units this year from 1.9bn last year.

Of these, smartphone shipments would grow nearly 50 per cent to 260m units this year from 175m last year, he said.

Verizon Wireless, the biggest US mobile carrier, said it was unable to keep up with strong demand for some smartphone models such as the Droid Incredible from HTC due to component shortages, such as the high-quality screens made by Samsung.

Reflecting strong demand for advanced displays, Samsung said it would invest 2.5 trillion Korean won (£1.5bn) by 2012 to build the world’s largest production line of extra-bright next generation screens.

Samsung Mobile Display is an equal joint venture of Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI. It ranks as the world’s largest display maker for mobile devices. It is also the biggest maker of next-generation ultra-bright screens, which are increasingly used in high-end mobile devices. They are thinner, have better image quality and consume less power than traditional LCD screens.

The market grew 35 per cent last year to a record $826m with Samsung Mobile controlling 70 per cent. Manufacturers are struggling to meet a surge in demand.