At this year’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung has managed to shake off the disappointment Galaxy S4 and S5’s lagging sales with the unveiling of the twin flagship models Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. S6 Edge especially captured the spotlight with its special curved screen that sweeps down on both sides of the phone. The new models are also improvements over their predecessor, Galaxy S5, in component specs. Avril Wu, global smartphone analyst for TrendForce, stated Samsung has captured the imagination of the consumers with Galaxy S6/S6 Edge’s amazing features and specs. Hence, the shipments of these new flagship models in 2Q15 will be higher than the original forecast with 5 million units added, making the total quarterly shipments to 22.2 million. This increase will in turn raise the yearly shipment volume of S6/S6 Edge to 55 million, surpassing the original estimate by 20%.
“Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge use LPDDR4 with capacity reaching 3GB,” Wu said, “and currently among the top three global DRAM makers, only Samsung Semiconductor is capable of mass producing this newest generation of mobile DRAM.” Thus, it will become the exclusive mobile memory supplier to Galaxy S6. With the S6 capturing the market’s attention and shipments estimates revised upward, Samsung’s handheld device branch has requested an increase in LPDDR4 supply from the semiconductor operation.
DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, estimates that from the start of March to the end of the second quarter, nearly 20K productions will be consumed per month just to fulfill Galaxy S6’s upside demands. This will create tightness in the available production capacity for mobile DRAM as well as removing some of the slight excess production capacity currently for PC DRAM.
Furthermore, DRAMeXchange expects mobile DRAM will not see a significant price decline in the second quarter because of the better-than-expected shipments of Galaxy S6 series. The quarterly price drop off is estimated at less than 3%. The prices for mobile DRAM will further stabilize in the third quarter as Apple launches its new iPhone and MediaTek introduces the new MT6375 platform, both of which will encourage retailers to stock up after a long period of inactivity.
As the production capacity of PC DRAM is being squeezed by the mobile DRAM demands, it will see a moderation of its quarterly price decrease. The PC DRAM price drop off for the second quarter will be reduced to nearly 5%, from the estimated range of 7~9%. Besides Samsung smartphones, other brands that use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor will also have to be supported by LPDDR4. These smartphones include Xiaomi Mi Note Pro with 4GB RAM and HTC One M9 with 3GB. Wu expects the increase in Galaxy S6 shipments will also offset the seasonality influence on DRAM’s prices and start an early fight over the LPDRR4 supply.