Google is allegedly making a big power play in the smartphone display market with a nearly $1 billion investment into a key supplier. According to a new report hailing from South Korea, Google will invest $875 million into LG Display in an effort to ensure that it has a steady stream of screens for its future Pixel Android flagships.
The search giant will reportedly rely on LG Display to produce curved panels, which are all the rage with the latest flagship smartphones. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ both use curved OLED display, and the upcoming iPhone 8 is also expected to use a curved OLED display — a first for the iPhone family.
According to the report, the strategic partnership with LG Display will allow Google to lessen its dependence on Samsung as a supplier (which already has its hands full with its own Galaxy devices and as a supplier for the iPhone) and could give Google access to a dedicated line for smartphone displays. It would also ensure that Google will have priority access to supply when it comes to screens for its Pixel smartphones.
Google’s Pixel 2 smartphones will launch later this year, with Google SVP of Hardware Rick Osterloh stating early last month, “There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it. You can count on a successor this year, even if you don’t hear a date from me now.”
Google also sought feedback from first generation Pixel owners on what could be improved for the next generations, with popular suggestions including more attractive pricing, smaller display bezels, water/dust resistance, image stabilization for the rear camera and a switch to forward-facing speakers.