[THE INVESTOR] LG Electronics is finally jumping on the OLED bandwagon, rolling out its smartphone models with the display in earnest from the latter half of this year, industry sources said on May 16.
According to sources, the upcoming V30, LG’s largest-screen premium phone, is likely to come with an OLED screen in September, while the next flagship, tentatively called the G7, will follow suit next year.
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“Most OLED screens produced at LG Display's Gumi E5 plant in the second half will be used for its sister firm LG Electronics’ smartphones starting with the V30,” a source briefed on the matter told The Investor on condition of anonymity.
“Some of the OLED production will be supplied to Chinese phone makers who are hoping to catch up with front-runners such as Samsung and Apple.”
He added LG’s OLED panel production will start in July.
LG has long been dependent on the LCD display for its flagship smartphones, while its competitors, including Samsung Electronics and Apple, and even some Chinese rivals are increasingly adopting OLED for their high-end models in recent years.
LG introduced its first OLED smartphone, the Optimus Sol in 2011, followed by the curved-screen G Flex in 2013, but both failed to appeal to customers.
Samsung uses OLED for almost 70 percent of its smartphones, securing the panels from its display-making unit Samsung Display that dominates more than 95 percent of the mobile OLED market.
Amid the tight panel supply, LG has made all-out efforts to secure the panels on its own -- from its display-making sister firm LG Display.
LG Display, a late comer in the segment, is ramping up efforts to elevate the low yield rate with aims to attract more clients like Apple, among others.
“It may take some time for LG Display to reach the similar yield rate of its rival Samsung Display. There are a range of issues to solve such as patents and supply chains for OLED equipment and materials,” said a display analyst who wished to be unnamed.
Samsung is the sole supplier for Apple’s first OLED iPhone that will be unveiled in the second half of this year.
Earlier The Investor reported that LG Display could face a further delay in supplying OLED screens for iPhone as it is struggling to meet Apple’s strict requirements. Sources said the company’s OLED shipment for iPhone could start from as early as 2019, about a year’s delay from previously planned.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)