Google is reportedly set to invest up to $875 million in LG Display in order to try and develop a stable and steady supply of curved OLED panels for its second gen Pixel smartphones.
According to the report, which comes via Korea courtesy of Yonhap News and Electronic Times, these displays would then be used in the company’s extremely popular line of Pixel devices, and is a means of strengthening supply issues in the future.
Until recently, Google has focused efforts on other parts of its business in order to turn itself into the corporate giant that it is right now. Google has also been involved in the smartphone world in one form or another thanks to its efforts on the Android operating system, but it’s only recently jumped into smartphone production with the release of the wonderful Pixel and Pixel XL handsets, unlike Nexus line of devices where most of the hardware was controlled by its partners rather than Google itself. However, as Google has found, supply and availability of those devices has been fairly limited due to issues with component production.
The reports are suggesting that Google will make an investment of a trillion Korean won, which equates to approximately $875 million U.S. dollars, in order to ensure that it has a steady stream of curved OLED panels coming off the production line as a dedicated supply for its own Pixel hardware. This would instantly remove any issues with sourcing panels for future devices, and solve one of the company’s largest headaches.
However, it’s also being suggested that Google could pull from that supply line in order to build other device types which would benefit from curved OLED displays, such as the speculated Pixel smartwatch.
The ink hasn’t been put to paper yet, with LG said to be still considering the move, which would see Google pumping cash into LG Display as an investment rather than ponying up a large amount of money for a continuous bulk order of panels from its Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province manufacturing plant. It’s pretty big news for Google if that actually goes ahead, but the operative word being used here is if.
Google has the reputation and financial might to basically get what it wants in these types of negotiations, and if the company does want to release new devices into additional markets – rather than the limited Pixel release in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany and Canada – then it really needs a preferential supply deal like this in place.
Only time will tell if it actually comes to fruition.
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