Whatever will come out as LG’s springtime flagship this year, the G7 will reportedly carry an LCD panel that will exemplify the peak of its technology with 35 percent less power consumption and big contrast ratios.
Market analysts in Korea, however, say that the display — said to be branded as MLCD+ — is a cost-cutting measure by the chaebol as it continues to refine its own production of more efficient and expensive OLED screens. Several lead investors speaking with The Investor are looking at this as a good move overall.
“Smartphones will have to switch to OLED anyways for future foldable handsets, so there’s no need to rush the transition to OLED now,” said Kim Hyun-soo of Hana Investments.
Depending on specification, mobile OLED panels cost two to three times more than an equivalent LCD panel. While Samsung Display — by far the market leader in OLED for mobile — is well-established in the industry, up and coming competitors such as Sharp, Japan Display and LG Display are still making ground-level investments to get up to speed.
LG has provided OLED displays for the V30 and Google’s Pixel 2 XL to lukewarm reception. Quality was deemed to be short of par and sales revenues of the V30 have not broken even with production costs.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo is forecasting that out of three new iPhones coming out this fall, only one will have an LCD screen. As the cheapest of the trio, it will account for half the sales in the model year.