Google has offered to invest more than one trillion won ($880.29 million) in LG’s Display division to help boost production of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for the US company to put in its next Google Pixel smartphone.
According to a report from ETNews, LG is “carefully considering” the offer. They say the deal will allow Google to secure access to flexible OLED screens and enable the South Korean electronics company to reduce capex. Last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL came with Samsung’s AMOLED displays, but this is the latest indication that Google is looking to take its business elsewhere.
The report says the invest volume and the supply deal may go up during talks. LG Display are one of the licensed manufacturers of IPS panels used by Dell, NEC, ASUS, Apple (including iMacs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches) and others. Their OLED panels have been used for the Apple Watch and LG’s own range of smartwatches. The company doesn’t currently have the capacity to produce units for smartphones, but the report says the $880.29 million investment is enough for LG to build an additional line for flexible display production.
According to the Global Flexible OLED Market report, the growing demand for thin and flexible displays in portable and wearable mobile devices in consumer electronics and healthcare is anticipated to increase the demand for flexible OLED displays. Flexible displays in smartphones add to convenience by offering larger displays that are foldable and rollable.
OLED is one of the most advanced display technologies and allows for flexible, foldable, bendable and rollable displays. An OLED attains its flexibility by incorporating a flexible substrate on which the organic substrate is deposited. It is a market that is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR of 42.46% over the period from 2015 to 2020.
OLED displays have become an extremely popular choice for smartphone makers. Apple has reportedly ordered 70 million units of the displays from Samsung Electronics to put on its next iPhone. Samsung themselves have already unveiled their new S8 with a bendable OLED panel. So it is no surprise that Google is looking to secure reliable access to the technology.