LG and Samsung invest heavily in OLEDs to prepare for iPhone 8

iPhone 7 (Apple)
Image: Apple

The display businesses of LG and Samsung are investing in OLED displays in record amounts to compete for new orders on Apple's iPhone 8.

In total, the two companies will invest around $11.6 billion in flexible OLEDs, according to Business Korea. Samsung recently announced a new investment of $4.37 billion, which, combined with its previous investments this year, would total 10.9 trillion won, or $9.7 billion.

RELATED: Report: Samsung to boost OLED production to meet Apple's demand

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LG, on the other hand, is investing about $3.9 billion in its displays, but only half of that is going to OLEDs, Business Korea reported.

Apple has not historically used OLED displays on its handsets, preferring to make incremental improvements to its LCD display. But after Sharp CEO Jeng-wu Tai heavily hinted that Apple would be using an OLED screen on some iPhone 8 devices, rumors to that effect have become commonplace. And Samsung's new investments will give that rumor even more credibility.

RELATED: Sharp to begin production of OLED panels next year, potentially benefiting Apple

If accurate, Apple will have joined the rest of the smartphone industry. The company has remained one of the last holdouts resisting OLED screens, which carry a number of advantages.

OLED displays are generally thinner than LCD displays, take less battery power and show richer colors. However, they are also more expensive to manufacture, and some manufacturers have noted that their color saturation can dull over time.

Sales of the iPhone 7 are sure to get a boost during the crucial holiday season due to Samsung's disastrous Galaxy Note 7 launch. But shares of Apple fell roughly 3 percent last week after Apple released relatively lackluster expectations for the holiday shopping quarter. The iPhone 8 is widely expected to offer a significant redesign, however, and an OLED may indeed be a key feature as Apple vies for customers at the competitive high end of the smartphone market.

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