In spite of rough reviews, Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) says sales of its $299 Galaxy Gear smartwatch have topped 800K, exceeding internal expectations. However, it's worth noting Samsung typically measures sales based on sell-in to retailers/distributors, rather than sell-through to consumers.
Compared with Samsung's mobile phone sales, Gear shipments are still a drop in the ocean. IDC estimates Samsung shipped 115.4M phones in Q3 (24.7% share), of which 81.2M were smartphones (31.4% share).
Separately, a Samsung patent filing has been made public that depicts a "bended display" wrapping around a phone's side. Samsung argues such a display, which might be included in a phone launching 2H14, would make it easier to read information at an angle, as well as provide more screen real estate.
With the company's efforts to differentiate via software clearly a work in progress (in spite of big investments), Samsung continues to invest heavily maintaining a display tech edge. In addition to wrap-around displays, the company is working on foldable and ultra-high-res displays.
Whereas its current phone display resolutions top out at 1080p, Samsung wants to launch phones with 2560x1440 displays in 2014, and 4K (3840x2160) displays in 2015. Many are skeptical about the value of having such resolutions on a 5"-6" display, but if Samsung goes through with its plans, it should be a positive for Universal Display (OLED), given more of its OLED materials will be needed to support higher resolutions.
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