Updated from April 20 with additional information.
Samsung (SSNLF) is moving past the Note 7 recall disaster from this past fall with the release of the Galaxy S8 on Friday, and a number of suppliers stand to benefit from the expected success of the smartphone.
The S8's key features include an edge-to-edge OLED "infinity" screen, a new Bixby voice assistant, an iris scanner and facial recognition. While the phone has received mostly positive reviews, its much-hyped "Infinity" display received a set back this week when some customers in South Korea complained that their Galaxy S8's display had an annoying red hue. Samsung responded by claiming that it was a software issue that will be fixed with a software update that will roll out across all S8 and S8 Plus phones, although it did not say when the update would happen.
The South Korea-based electronics company says that pre-orders for the S8 exceeded those of its predecessor, the S7, which was released last March. In fact, a report from South Korea claims that the smartphone exceeded 1 million pre-orders in South Korea, the highest ever for a smartphone in the country. The phone was originally unveiled on March 29 with pre-orders being accepted starting April 7.
Analysts are expecting the S8 to comfortably outsell the S7 this year, partly because it's been a year since the last flagship Samsung phone was released since the Note 7 had to be recalled in October. HMC Investment Securities analyst Greg Roh said he is expecting Samsung to ship 50 million units this year, which translates to $28.3 billion in sales, vs. the 48 million S7 phones shipped last year.
Samsung itself will provide 60% to 65% of the materials for the new phone, including the display, memory and chipset. But the positive sales outlook for the device is good news for Galaxy S8 suppliers too. Since the phone was unveiled at an event in New York on March 29, a number of S8 supplier stocks are up: Universal Display (OLED - Get Report) is up 0.6%, Skyworks Solutions (SWKS - Get Report) is up 3.8%, Qorvo (QRVO - Get Report) is up 3.5%, NXP Semiconductors (NXPI - Get Report) is up 1% and Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) is up 0.2%. The Nasdaq index is up 0.2% over the same time period.
"They have certainly increased in sympathy and expectations of greater sales, especially with the hype of better than last year's pre-orders," Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner said.
The steady rise in the supplier's stock prices should continue after the phone's launch on Friday so long as sales continue to be strong, although investors will have to wait until the next quarterly earnings releases to confirm that the sales are translating into meaningful revenues and profits, Entner noted.
Last month, Pacific Crest Securities released a note claiming that Broadcom (AVGO - Get Report) should also get a slight boost from the Galaxy S8, although the stock is down 1.53% since March 29 when the phone was unveiled. In addition, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan claimed last month that Samsung would help the company's results in the second quarter, which is important since it's usually a slower period for its other big client Apple (AAPL - Get Report) ." (We) expect to offset the significant portion of this decline in wireless from the ramp of the next-generation phone at our large Korean smartphone customer," Tan said during the March call.
The Note 7 recall last October in relation to battery issues that caused the phones to overheat and sometimes explode ended up costing Samsung $5 billion, making it the company's largest recall ever. But despite this black spot on its reputation, the S8 architecture is very similar to that of the Note 7, according to a new report from iFixit. "The Samsung Galaxy S8+ battery voltage, capacity, and design tolerances are virtually identical to the Note 7," iFixit's Sam Lionheart writes. "Our unit's battery even came from the same manufacturer as some Note7 batteries."
Even the design surrounding the battery in the S8 is "very, very similar" to the Note 7, Lionheart said. This must mean that Samsung is confident in its new eight-step safety check for future devices to ensure the batteries won't have any issues with overheating. "We did make a mistake about the Galaxy Note 7, and we apologize for this," said Samsung Electronics chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun at a shareholder meeting last month. "We will learn from this lesson."
Considering the Note 7 received stunning reviews before reports of the faulty batteries came out, Samsung is smart to keep a lot of the features the same and just fix the battery. "Assuming they put the same smarts into the S8 and fix the battery issues, then it could be very well reviewed and do really well," Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson said. "I see no reason why it would sell fewer units than the S7."