Google is reportedly looking to invest $880 million or more in LG Display to boost production of OLED screens for its Pixel handset.
The Yonhap News reported Google hopes to “secure a stable supply” of the panels to reduce its dependence on Samsung Display. The internet giant is looking to forge a strategic partnership with LG rather than simply inking a purchase agreement.
The story was picked up by TechCrunch, among other news outlets.
Vendors of high-end phones are increasingly looking to OLED screens rather than LCD products. Samsung recently secured a $4.3 billion deal to supply OLED screens for the next iPhone, according to multiple reports, building on a previous agreement to supply 100 million OLED screens for the device. The iPhone 8 has long been rumored to be Apple’s first device to feature an OLED screen, and Samsung reportedly began ramping up production of OLED displays by more than 50% last year to meet demand from Apple and other smartphone vendors.
Apple was widely expected to move from LCD to OLED in the next few years, but Nikkei reported last year that the company was ahead of schedule and was in talks with both LG and Samsung in a deal estimated to be worth $12 billion. The iPhone 8 is widely expected to offer some significant new features including an all-glass design and wireless charging.
Both current models of the Pixel feature Samsung-made OLED displays, but Google may fear Samsung’s deal with Apple could limit supplies for the next generation of the handset.
OLED can be used to make thinner, more flexible displays with curves rather than straight lines with right angles. OLED also requires less power than LCD, boosting battery life, and it supports more vivid colors.