Bezel-Free & Alternative Aspect Ratio Smartphones to Climb to 120 Million Units in 2017

In a quest for increased display sizes and new forms of hardware differentiation, leading smartphone OEMs are turning to new solutions to increase the effective display viewing area without increasing the overall physical size of the devices.

Commenting on latest trend of 18:9 displays in smartphones, Research Director Peter Richardson, noted, “With the rise of super-fast 4G networks and beyond, smartphones have become the primary devices for content creation and consumption, driving demand for bigger displays. Clearly, there is a practical limit to the physical size of a smartphone, typically determined by the size of the user’s hands or pockets.”

Mr Richardson, continues, “As a result, rather than increase the size of the display, handset OEMs are turning to solutions that increase the effective viewing area of the display without increasing the overall size of the phone. These include bezel-less designs and new aspect ratios. Yet another solution, available in the near future, will be that of foldable displays, which could allow a 10-inch tablet-sized displays to be folded and accommodated in a compact 5.5-inch smartphone-sized design.”

With Sharp’s Aquos, we have already seen one of the first phones trying to break shackles on bezels in 2014. However, it was not successful due to limited roll-out, poor battery life and a bulky design. So was Xiaomi’s Mi Mix, launched in 2016 with much fan-fare but bench marked heavily on Sharp’s initial design. While more of a proof of concept and only available in limited quantities, it also suffered from a bulkiness that deterred many. Fast forward to 2017, the vertically integrated Korean smartphone brands LG and Samsung, leveraging their display business and technologies, are getting it right. The LG G6 sports a beautiful LCD-based 18:9 display and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 series shows-off a much brighter, color-rich, curved OLED display. Apple is rumored to also launch an OLED version bezel-less display in its “special edition” smartphone later this Fall, marking its tenth anniversary for the iPhone. This should drive the bezel-free or alternative aspect ratio trend into a high scale and high demand feature.  Next year’s flagships from competing brands will have to toe the line or risk being marginalized.

As with most areas of hardware differentiation, with few suppliers controlling OEMs’ access to this technology, the sustainability of the differentiation is levered to availability and supply. For 2017 both are likely to be limited, meaning that only those that gain access to the technology will be able to eke out some level of differentiation.

Counterpoint Research Director, Tom Kang, added: “While every brand would like to join the bandwagon, there will be serious supply constraints this year and first half of next year to match the demand. This will keep prices high and also enable deep-pocketed OEMs to lock-in the major part of supply. However by 2018 supply and availability issues should ease, and the amount of content formatted for 18:9 aspect ratio displays will become more widespread, leading to greater adoption. Samsung Display, JDI, LG Display should be the major beneficiaries, alongside display driver IC players. Chinese display manufacturers such as Tianma, BOE will also likely contribute by supplying these new wider, bezel-free displays to a growing crop of Chinese brands in the latter part of next year.”

Counterpoint forecasts more than 120 million smartphones including these differentiated alternative aspect ratio and near bezel-free displays will ship in 2017, accounting for almost 7% of the total smartphone shipments this year. This demand will more than triple next year as we see supply issues ease and more OEMs will be able to offer bezel-free flagship models in their portfolio in the second half of 2018. The trend towards bezel-less designs and 18:9 aspect ratio displays and the benefits and downside of both solutions, is captured in our in-depth report (here) which further evaluates whether these trends are likely to be adopted by all OEMs.

The comprehensive and in-depth report on component research is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at for further questions regarding our research, insights or contact at for any press enquiries.

Neil is a sought-after frequently-quoted Industry Analyst with a wide spectrum of rich multifunctional experience. He is a knowledgeable, adept, and accomplished strategist. In the last 18 years he has offered expert strategic advice that has been highly regarded across different industries especially in telecom. Prior to Counterpoint, Neil worked at Strategy Analytics as a Senior Analyst (Telecom). Neil also had an opportunity to work with Philips Electronics in multiple roles. He is also an IEEE Certified Wireless Professional with a Master of Science (Telecommunications & Business) from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.