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Google is ready to spend a billion dollars to give the Pixel a curved display

Google is ready to spend close to $1 billion — around $880 million at today's exchange rate — to LG Display to produce curved OLED panels for its next Pixel phones, according to Korea's Electronic Times (via Reuters).

The report says that LG has not approved the offer just yet, but the move is an indicator that Google understands it needs to follow Samsung, LG and presumably other OEMs in producing thinner, more flexible OLED panels to maximize the screen space of its next Pixels while keeping overall device footprint down.

While the original Pixels use OLED panels, which are ideal for virtual reality and optimized for the Daydream platform, the phones, available in 5-inch and 5.5-inch variants, have been criticized for their bezels above and below the display, making their overall size much larger than other devices with the same usable screen real estate.

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

128 Comments
  • Stick with the flat display please. The LG G6's flat display is so much nicer to use.
  • Agree. Even though Samsung are pushing the curved screens, they are reducing the curves on every upgrade. At this rate they will soon have so little curve that they will be barely distinguishable from flat screens.
  • The curve on the S7 Edge was nice, but annoying at times. It was designed much better on the Note 7. I'm glad the S8's curves are more like the Note 7's.
  • Agreed. Flat and 90% screen.
  • Agreed... I don't like curved screens at all. They do not work well with cases and screen protectors, especially glass ones. This is one more reason why I don't buy Samsung phones anymore. Just because Samsung is doing it doesn't mean it's a good idea.
  • Judging by presales of the S8, they must think so.
  • Well you have no idea if they could have sold more phones if they would have kept the display flat... have you ever heard of somebody say they wouldn't buy a phone because the display is flat?
  • Exactly
  • I think samsung is doing it because millions of people are paying TOP dollar for it, so you three guys buying flat ones from someone else means nothing to them. I for one agree with you on case fit and glass protection but dam it's a good phone..
  • The glare on the curves from every angle is just plain annoying. Keep it flat.
  • Yes, their curved tvs are horrible too
  • Agree. Don't care for the glare those curves bring.
  • I'm waiting to see the Pixel 2 before buying a phone. If it gets curved light the S8 then the LG G6 gets my money.
  • If you're willing to wait for the Pixel 2 to come out, then you'll have your choice of a newer LG with new processor than the G6, though LG phone prices tend to drop like a rock, so the LG G6 will be a steal by November when the P2 arrives.
  • It was mentioned in the latest AC podcast that anything without a bezel-less or curved screen will look dated. It appears that other manufacturers, including Apple, will follow suit. However, isn't HTC under an agreement to manufacture the Pixel 2? Can Google have both LG and HTC on the Pixel 2 at the same time? I could see this deal as an indicator that LG is the favorite on the Pixel 3 with a curved screen in 2018, while Google urges HTC to make a near bezel-less display. Heck, even if they cut the bezels by 50% all around, it would look "better" next to the current generation of Pixels.
  • The Pixel and Pixel XL screens were manufactured by Samsung, even though the phones were built by HTC. Most displays in modern phones are built by Samsung, Sharp, and LG, if memory serves. My guess is that Google wants to try to use LG to get a better deal and newer hardware for the Pixel 2.
  • Samsung is building the panels for the new IPhone as well, at some point every phone will have Samsung parts in it
  • Can you provide a source of HTC make the pixel 2.
  • Just Google "google htc three year deal" and you'll see plenty of links.
  • And people wonder why Google keep incorporating Samsung ideas into Android.
  • Is there something wrong with that? They​are close partners if you didn't know...
  • Really????? WOOOOW didn't know that. That's the whole point of my post. But thank you for trying to make something out of nothing. As much as people bash Samsung, they are THE leader for Android and features. It's almost as if Google lets Samsung be the test subject to see what works and what doesn't work. People was hating the curved LED but let the Pixel have it and Pixel fanboys will act just like Apple fanboys be like this the greatest thing ever!
  • So you think Google should just bloat stock Android with the 2GB extra crap Samsung adds to Android? Samsung makes good hardware but I'll take stock Android over it any day. Samsung is trying very hard to be like apple and it ruins the experience in many ways as they take away the users choice. A perfect example of this is that all S6 and newer Galaxy phones support always listening for voice search/actions but it can only be enabled for S-Voice not Google Assistance/Google Now which is complete BS. I've owned ever Galaxy phone (except S5) since the S2 but will be getting a Pixel or LG next...
  • You want to know how I know your full of BS with Google Now? S-Voice can be disabled and I only have Google Assistance enabled and last I checked this morning having it call for service leads me to think you have no idea what you are talking about. You CLEARLY missed the point of what I said. Last I checked when I hold the home button, Google Assistant comes on and not S-Voice. But hey I understand if you don't know how to operate your phone. And I have the S7 Edge BTW
  • "always listening" for Google Assistant only works if the screen is on, or if the phone is charging. For S-voice, it works all the time. Maybe next time try reading comprehension before flying off the handle.
  • Always listening means voice Activation without touching your phone while the screen is off. I forget which Note supported this when I bought it, than Samsung released an update and took it away. Currently own an S7 and always listening does not work despite the hardware is capable.
  • I just messed with S Voice and Google Assistant. Ok Google only works if my screen is on already. Hi Galaxy opens S Voice when the phone is on my desk screen off.
  • That's quite an imagination,,,,2gb....
  • Fyi for both of you. Ok google does work with screen off. I bought the 6p when it first came out and it had it, and so does my pixel xl with the assistant. It does get kind of frustrating when i say ok google and my entire room lights up because of my tablet (pixel c) and my 2 Chromebooks all beep and light up. Kind of comical actually.
  • Yes always listening does work for Google Assistant/Now. Swipe to the Google Now screen or open the Google app, select settings, select voice, and enable always listening. Btw, always listening wasn't a Samsung invention either, that was Motorola and it was introduced on the original Moto X, originally called Touchless Control and later renamed to Moto Voice.
  • Jesus... calm down
  • Sorry, I absolutely DON'T want a curved screen on the Pixel. If I wanted a curved screen, I'd buy a Samsung.
  • Actually there not.
  • Um, English grammar 101, they are not, they aren't, they're not.
  • That's the beauty of Android.. They all incorporate ideas from each other. It's better for everyone
  • Samsung fanboys feel they have been robbed when Google "steals" one of Samsungs ideas
  • Pretty sure that's something you just made up
  • No it's not something I made up, you see how defensive Samsung fanboys get when it comes to other companies instituting traditionally Samsung features.
  • Lol. I can tell you're having some sort of heated debate with the voices in your head. I certainly didn't comment on Samsung and the conversation isn't about Samsung. Maybe you can read minds too?
  • What?
  • SSherris, he was responding to savdini who was responding to aitt.
  • If that's the case, those fanboys need to get over themselves. They pretend that another company incorporating some of Samsung's ideas or designs is directly affecting them. Are they losing money? Or are they losing ammunition for the "my device is better than yours war" they are engaged in? If anything, it should be flattering that companies are taking cues from Samsung and driving the industry forward. Its not like Samsung is going to belly up and say, "Well crap, they copied us, lets just not do this anymore."
  • I don't mind at all, especially if they take it and improve on it to make it better.
  • Good thing I"m not a Samsung "fanboy" and feeling that Google is "stealing" something. Only idiots would believe that. And only idiots would think that someone was believing that.
  • Huh? Never heard any Samsung fans say that. What I've heard is well-deserved mockery when it takes 4 years for Google to finally add an OEM (like Samsung) feature to stock Android. But no complaints that they did it.
  • People just huffing making something out of nothing. It's quite funny really.
  • I think it's less about a sense of being robbed and more that they're sick of hearing the Nexites and Google Purists pine how Samsung puts too much "stuff" into their skin/phone. Then when Google adopts one of those features into plain Android, the Nexites and Purists hail it as a wonderful addition. It's the hypocrisy that irritates most of them. I think it's a standard fanboy trait though. Look how many times an Apple fanboy decries an Android feature only to hail it as the savior of all technology when it comes built into an iPhone.
  • Exactly. It's amazing how people always bashing TW and it's too bloated and love the Android Experience and the Google incorporates TW features and it's oh we love it! Samsung has done alot of great for Android and it's good that Google is seeing that. Remind me of when people said no one would want a phablet. Thumbs up to Samsung
  • samsung is like aids for android.
  • If aids means assisting Google figure out adding Samsung features has become beneficial for all of Android. Yes. Yes Samsung is aids to Android.
  • Most new Android features that Google adds are already on my Galaxy. Stock Android feels stripped down and featureless to me.
  • And they may have been on other oems before your galaxy.. Basically all oem skins have more "features".. Thats the point.
  • I thought HTC had the first phablet?
  • I have no problem with them adding some Samsung features to Android. But Samsung has so many add-ons that it seems to cause performance issues, at least with any Samsung device I've owned. But if it's​ not that, then what's causing the slowdown?
  • Samsung makes some beautiful hardware and their cameras are great. Personally for me I just don't care for the software. So some Samsung design cues on the next Pixel is not a bad thing at all.
  • Hell yeah, man! Seems like it could be the best of both worlds.
  • That's not new at all. The Pixel and a lot of phones actually do have quite a bit of Samsung hardware, especially NAND and RAM modules.
  • g flex was out way before any note edge.
  • You must have forgotten about the Samsung Round.
  • they were announced at the exact same time, and the samsung was only available in south korea.. Gee, who could have forgotten.
  • Ok welcome to a world with distorted content and screen with light bleed everywhere!
  • Light bleed on OLED?
  • OLED panels have no light bleed
  • Curved screen still has no real world usage, besides warping the images at the edge. And i would rather have a phone with bezels at the bottom. Using phones these days is like enrolling your fingers to a gymnastics class.
  • My s7 edge and PRIV begs to differ warping images.
  • get your eyes checked.
  • Eyes crystal clear. Maybe check yours
  • Of course it does. It has to by default.
  • LG doesn't have any flexible OLED display line at the moment. In Dec 2016, they announced they would be investing in capacity that would come online in 2018 - this is also why most observers saw the iPhone switching to OLED only in 2018. Looks to me like that is a Pixel 3 enabler at best.
  • It depends on much of a curve they use. A slight curve would be ok. But the same as the current S8 line is too much for me.
  • The S8 isn't as bad as my S7 edge. I played with one on display at a Sprint store Sunday.
  • Agreed. I don't know who is familiar with the Nokia 920s curved display, but it was perfect.
  • It was.
  • I'm pretty sure that lack of a curved screen had nothing to do with Pixel's low sales. They can have less bezel without the curve (see the G6). If they do that plus add water resistance and market it across all carriers they may actually sell some Pixel 2s.
  • I agree. If Google learned from the Pixel's supply issues and the desire for water resistance they would be heading in the right direction. Reducing bezel is a MUST because people really do care how a phone looks. Heck, if they cut the top and bottom bezels by 50% the screen could be bigger without changing the size of the device.
    Here's some other hopes for a Pixel 2:
    Offer up 1 year of Google Play Music, Google Home, or Daydream Headset. (or all 3) Give people some flexibility with how they want to benefit from Google's services.
    Base storage jumps to 64. Top end can stay at 128 or jump to 256.
    Availability at AT&T, T-mobile, Sprint and Verizon on the same day.
  • It's more to do with supply. The Pixel is not an easy phone to get hold of since it still has some issues with supply.
  • The curved edges are really not any better or useful. I have the s7 edge and the egde display is severely lacking in function. Not much support. A flat screen is better.
  • Function? Why does a curved screen need functions? Do you really think Samsung added the curved screen because of that? They did it because it looks cooler and allows them to charge potential customers more. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is not for the Pixel 2's, only 6 months out from being on sale. Maybe, the Pixel 3's, no problem for the Pixel 4's. The agreement has not even been reached yet, much less, the line built.
  • Well if this is true, and if they don't make a flat version, this Pixel will be my first and last Google phone. It's why I left Samsung, and I'll leave Google for the same reason.
  • Ditto!
    Curved screens are just a fad.
    Wife just got the G6 and that screen is perfect. She was going to get the S8, but that curved screen serves no purpose. It doesn't make for good viewing.
    If Google does this, then looks like I won't be able to enjoy the Pixel 2.
  • They should spend their money to make it more available.
  • This!
  • There is no doubt there will be more available, but it will also be more popular because people know the brand.
  • It doesn't need to be more available. Let all the other manufacturers have the bulk of sales. Google doesn't need to be in that market. They just need a great reference device.
  • If they're gonna go curved, do it like the Note 7, or maybe make it more subtle from there. I did actually use the Mate 9 Pro, and its curved display is actually almost non-existent. It's definitely there, but the curve is extremely subtle, to the point where it actually feels like it's flat, even though it isn't.
  • Please no curved (or Edge) screen on the Pixel! I have the Nexus 6P and I am waiting for the Pixel 2 XL to get a new phone. I definitely don't want a curved screen. It's form at the cost of function! If it's BARELY noticable fine but I watch a lot of video on my phone and I hate how it bends of the sides on the Galaxy Edge series. I really don't see the benefit of having it! Please no!
  • I much rather see the piexl be IP68 ...I'm just wondering if that will happen as it's probably HTC making the pixel 2 and I dont know of any HTC phones that are water resistant.
  • droid dna, and j butterfly.. They did it before samsung. It also had wireless charging.
  • I prefer curved. Lots of whining but it looks better IMO.
  • And here I thought Google only followed Apple , feature for feature . This is bad , I like my flagship with a flat screen for the glass screen protector ..looks like S7 and G6 are the last . :( I don't see any benefit to the curved screen , except 'less bezel' = 'more broken screens' ..which is only good for the phone mfg -- like non removable batts Kenny
  • I'd rather see them spend $ 1 billion on their supply chain so that we can actually get a Pixel 2 on launch day... It's ridiculous that 6 months after launch, you still can't get some variants of the phone. And please--no Verizon exclusive! Sell the phones on ALL carriers from Day 1!
  • Give us options​ at least. Have a flat and a curved.
  • You will get nothing and like it!
  • Spalding, noooo!
  • Although a high level marketing decision is certainly not going to refer to a message board for direction, I echo a number of other posters here who prefer the flat screen. I don't even care for the '2.5d' screen garbage facilitated by the iPhone. Less ergonomic and usable while being more fragile.
  • What kind of investment is this? Is this a let us cut in line to buy all the supply before prices raise even more because all oems need amoled?
  • No, this is build a new line and manufacture something for us that you do not currently make at all.
  • It is not just to build a new production line. Google is in need of oled for the next pixel phone. It would most likely be to get access to LG's Oled for the second half of 2017
  • Yeah, that's what I said. I don't know what part of that wasn't clear to you. Oh, and don't look for this with the Pixel 2's, as I've already stated elsewhere in this thread. This is a product that Lg doesn't even make yet. Hell, they haven't even reached an agreement yet.
    Maybe/probably the Pixel 3's, no problem for the Pixel 4's.
  • Everything about this article is inaccurate except $880,000 and wanting to use LG to make the panels.
  • The current curve in Samsung displays is so subtle, they might just as well make it flat all the way to the edge with no bezel.
  • Please front facing speakers. Please. I have never desired a curve, but do not want to return to cupping my hand around the bottom of my phone.
  • Maybe this is just me, but it feels like the real story isn't whether or not a curved screen design will be used, but rather that Google is trying to invest in its pipeline to avoid the shortages they suffered on the first Pixel. It's not like producing a flexible OLED screen means you are forced to use it in a curved product, but if you're investing a billion or so into securing enough screens for your phones for the foreseeable future it probably makes sense to get the ones that'll have you covered regardless of what direction you want to take your phone design in the coming years.
  • I had the original pixel. What crap. I fell for the hype and almost threw 600.00 away. 3 weeks after I got it, I put on ebay. Thanks God for a waiting list that had me get all my money back. A curved screen isn't what the pixel needs. If they want to make it an option, that's fine. But the pixel needs everything else a top tier smartphone should have. Buy the way, I ended up buying a ZTE axon 7 and its twice the phone that the pixel was. And yes, even with the 820 chip, it's faster.
  • ZTE just pled quilty to selling US technology to Iran. Now in the whole scheme of things that may well be meaningless but if caught again their US presence will be most likely be gone and no repair parts will be available.
  • I prefer flat displays and a decent amount of top and bottom bezels...just do something with those bezels like adding front facing speakers. For me the only two hardware features missing from the pixel are IP68 and front facing speakers. I dgaf about so called bezeless designs and curved displays. I don't want my phone to be futuristic looking at the expense of functionality. The 6Ps footprint is just about perfect for me... 5.7 inch 16:9 display with just the right amount of bezel...but not empty bezel like the pixel.
  • Wonder if Google will make a "bezeless" 16:9 aspect phone.
  • Would be better than 2:1 but if Google eschews 16:9 or flat displays in the pixel 2 then I will seriously have to consider OnePlus or a first gen pixel for my next phone.
  • STUPID (curved glass is STUPID) nuf said
  • Curved screens introduce visual distortion, increase likelihood of cracking (introducing more angles of impact, are harder to fit with a tempered glass screen protector. They look good, but they're a gimmick.
  • Yep. The LG G6 does smaller bezels so much better. To be honest though I am not a fan of tall thin phones either, I would have preferred they kept the 16:9 ratio and just made the bezels smaller.
  • I like dated. Dated means stable and functional.
  • Well Google/Alphabet better get it together. If Samsung ever decides to have a flash sale of the S8 with pure Android for 1k I will not hesitate. If Samsung ever decides to do that there will be excessive stock with dust for other manufacturers.
  • I really didn't realize people were so bothered by the bezels on the pixel. I actually like the real estate provided. I do wish screen protectors, good ones anyway were easier to come by.
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • I would like to see the return of the curve found in the GNex.
  • If they do, I hope they keep flat screens as an option. I tried a curved screen with the Priv and don't want another.
  • Please make it stop. I hate the curved edge of my S7. Might have to go back to LG.
  • Flat please
  • Flat screens need to stay. And bezels. Helps hold my case on. Also front facing speakers will always be superior to bezel-less crotch facing speakers.
  • The battle is already lost. All screens are already curved, it's called 2.5D glass and is the bane of all screen protectors everywhere.
  • They need to do something...the Pixels were old and tired looking right out of the box. Among the top tier phones, the Pixels have the least amount of visual appeal. I have bough Nexus devices in the past but steered clear of the Pixel.
    Looks way too much like an iPhone imitating an Android device...
  • Oh God, no. Please no. I freaking hated my S7 Edge's screen. Always open invitation apps, etc. Just say no to curved....
  • How about spending some of that money making it water resistant!
    Curved screen is ok but not worth more cash IMHO.
  • Samsung sells curved for the same reason McDonalds continues to sell crap food: Advertising. Never underestimate the ignorance of the American consumer. All most people need is a $250 or less smartphone with a real camera.
  • Can't wait!
  • I see the post but wonder why no one questions why LG doesn't use OLED on their own flagship phones instead of using LCDs with no true Blacks