Samsung has drawn criticism for using glossy and cheap-feeling plastics for its flagship Galaxy S3 and S4, and the larger Note smartphone; although plastic is less prone to scratching, the aluminium of the iPhone and HTC One are widely said to give a more premium feel.
Analysts of Barclays Capital Securities of Taiwan say Catcher Technology, the Chinese company responsible for metal cases used by Apple in its iPads and MacBooks, is likely to receive new smartphone orders early next year from Apple and Samsung.
Barclays analyst Dale Gai said in a note to investors that Apple would be ordering supplies to build more of its new iPhone 5s, while Samsung will be ordering from Catcher in preparation for a new addition to its Galaxy series, due out in the first half of next year – this coincides neatly with the usual April/May announcement of the new Galaxy S phone.
The analysts wrote: “Our [supply chain checks suggest Catcher has been qualified as one of the major sources on the total metal casing volumes at 10 to 30 million next year from Samsung. The final order allocation is to be confirmed in early first quarter 2014, subject to price bids by approved vendors.”
The report, from Taipei Times, tallies with a similar story published by South Korea’s Electronic Times newspaper in last August, which said Samsung plans to build a production line in Gumi, 260km southeast of Seoul, capable of producing handset cases made from magnesium and aluminium.
Samsung is likely to use metal cases for its premium smartphones released early next year, the newspaper said.