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Samsung and LG invest nearly $12B in ‘do or die’ fight for Apple’s money

Published Oct 31st, 2016 2:00PM EDT
iPhone 8 Rumors OLED Display
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

As much as they must hate the popularity of the iPhone, Samsung and LG both probably love Apple’s smartphone. At least, the non-mobile divisions that are looking to win over more iPhone supply orders from Apple.

Specifically, the two Korean giants are embroiled in a “do or die” battle for Apple’s attention concerning a critical component for the iPhone 8 and its successors.

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Samsung Display and LG Display have invested $11.6 billion (13 trillion won) in flexible OLEDs this year, Business Korea reports. The whole purpose of their actions is to win iPhone OLED screen orders from Apple. The iPhone maker could turn out to be a driving force for OLED display adoption now that it’s considering such displays for its flagship products.

OLED screens have constantly beaten LCD displays, according to experts, but Apple never made a move to OLED for the iPhone, choosing to improve the LCD performance instead.

But at least one iPhone 8 model next year will have an OLED display, and Sharp seems already comfortable confirming the feature.

Samsung’s display division invested 5.9 trillion won in OLED facilities so far this year, and the total will reach 10.9 trillion won ($9.7 billion) by the end of the year. Samsung Display’s new facilities will mass-produce OLED screens for smartphones, tablets, and notebooks.

LG invested 4.5 trillion won this year, half of which is going to flexible OLED displays.

The site notes that Apple is expected to launch an OLED iPhone next year. The display industry says that Apple may need some 100 million OLED panels this year beginning in 2018 when half of its iPhones will have OLED displays.

Samsung display is said to win all iPhone 8 OLED orders going forward. But LG will be able to mass-produce flexible OLED displays in the first half of next year. It’s not clear what iPhone model LG is targeting, but Business Korea says the company is “having a tug of war over the supply of OLED panels from E5 Line to the iPhone 5 with Apple.” Does that mean the iPhone SE will also get an OLED panel in a future update?

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.