Updates to this story
Samsung is beginning its shipments of 9.7 inch panels for Apple's iPad this July, with up to 500,000 shipments being planned monthly, reports Digitimes. Could it be that Samsung is doing a practise run for its own recently confirmed tablet PC and its Bada strategy? Our sources point to yes.
LG Display has been providing Apple with shipments so far, having sent out about 800,000 of the 9.7 inch iPad panels in May alone, an increase from 700,000 in April, 470,000 units in March and 300,000 units in February - so the demand is, quite clearly, there. But it's known among those who should know these things that the LG Fabs are full, and Apple needs another supplier.
A source in the know who requested not to be named said that yes, this could be a practise run for Samsung's own technology. Samsung, our source tells us, operates with the VA wide angle technology, that's what it likes and that's what it's used to. LG however - an iPad supplier - likes wide angle IPS, which is what Apple has and wants as its iPad display technology.
Our source tells us that Samsung is used to VA and switching to a different method of production takes resources - it's like a software company switching operating systems. It's something that can be done but there's a learning curve and your engineers have to get used to it.
With this in mind, there's no reason Samsung wouldn't want to use the IPS technology it will have to have developed to fill Apple's orders. If it's made the technology to supply IPS for Apple, it puts it in a great strategic position as it'll now have IPS and VA technologies it can ship.
We asked display analyst Bob Raikes at meko.co.uk what he reckoned. He told us that the move may be to one-up Apple before it goes into the TV market. It's kind of like you've got three or four screens in your life: there's your phone, your notebook, your TV and, possibly, your tablet PC. The big strategy Samsung will take is with BaDa, its own app platform.
It will want to, Mr Raikes told us, integrate all of your screens across one platform, and it will want to get to that point either before, or when, players like Apple and Google get there. Not to mention Samsung's LCD forecast has stopped growing this year - which won't look good for any industry bods in LCD or TV. It's forcing Samsung to get on the app trail, which it will do with Bada. It wants Bada everywhere, and it's worth remembering that Samsung has 25 percent of the TV market.
So, it looks like, yes - this could be a practise run as part of Samsung's grand strategy.