Google's next Pixel smartphone to feature a curved OLED display from LG

South Korea's Electronic Times has reported that Google's parent company, Alphabet, is offering LG Display investment of up to $880 million to ensure the smooth supply of flexible OLED panels that are used to make curved smartphone screens.

If the deal is confirmed, Google, which had exclusively relied on Samsung Display for its OLED panels, could secure a stable supply chain. With the investment of 1 trillion won, LG Display could produce flexible OLED panels for around 3 million smartphones monthly. As of 2017, Samsung was the only company that could produce the volume and quality that Apple required, which meant players like LG Display and Sharp would only supply the panels for iPhones launched after 2017.

Curved displays look set to be this year's trend in smartphone design; Samsung has doubled down on the size of its signature "Edge" screen, and other OEMs seem to be following in its footsteps, including both Apple and Google - the company's two main rivals. This is expected to cause a global strain on panel supplies.

Notably, LG Display is still "carefully considering" the proposal and has yet to officially agree to the contract.

The flexible OLED displays for Google are expected to be produced at the E5 plant. It is, however, been added that the investment amount could further increase during the ongoing partnership talks.

If a deal is struck, it is likely to help boost LG Display's OLED business, which is seeking a bigger foothold in the global small- and medium-sized OLED display sector.

  • Arturo Norris