Catcher, the Taiwanese company that makes the metal bodies of the HTC One and the iPad, is said to be in the final stages of securing a massive order of metal cases from Samsung.
According to a research note from Barclays analysts cited by the Taipei Times, Samsung is close to making a final decision on the suppliers of the metal body of “at least one of its high-end smartphone models from the second quarter next year”. Catcher is qualified as an approved supplier of 10 to 30 million units, but Samsung will reportedly place the final orders next year, based on the bids it receives. The Barclays research note is based on checks in the supply chain.
If Samsung keeps its release pattern, the Galaxy S5 will likely hit stores in early Q2 2014.
Last month, Korean media reported that Samsung has set up a production line in Gumi, South Korea, to manufacture test batches of metal casings for flagship Galaxy devices. The company is reportedly setting up a mass production line in Vietnam.
For popular devices like the Galaxy S series, Samsung needs to secure components from multiple sources, to ensure supplies and reduce risks. If the reports that the Galaxy S5 will be made of metal are accurate, the Korean company is likely going to split production between its own facilities and external suppliers, both from South Korea and from abroad.
Samsung has been intensely criticized for using plastic as the primary build material for its high-end smartphones. While the merits of plastic, glass, and metal are a source of endless debate among smartphone users, it’s hard to deny that metal phones withstand accidents better, as our recent iPhone drop test shows.
Samsung has adopted texturized plastic imitating leather for the Note 3’s back cover, so it’s safe to assume that at least the much denigrated glossy plastic is being phased out.