Toshiba Corp will spend about 100 billion yen ($1.19 billion) to build a factory for making small LCD panels, mainly to supply to Apple Inc’s iPhones, the Nikkei business daily said.The company’s wholly owned unit, Toshiba Mobile Display Co, will construct the facility in Ishikawa prefecture and the plant will churn out low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels, which allow for high-resolution images, the paper said.Work on the plant will start by early next year, with the production due to begin in the second half of 2011, Nikkei said.Toshiba Mobile Display already makes low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels at a facility in the prefecture and its monthly production capacity of 8.55 million units is projected to more than double with the new factory, the daily said. Apple will invest in a portion of the investment for the factory, the Nikkei said.
What’s interesting is that current LCD display leaders from Korea,Samsung and LG (maker of the Retina Display), are not only competing with Apple but also selling products that go into Apple products to others. For instance, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the WWDC audience that he thought that Apple would have the lead in displays for years with the Retina, yet Sharp and other manufacturers released Android devices with the same LG display within months of the iPhone. LG also had a display deal with Apple and gave Apple a few month head start on those awesome 27″ panels before giving them to Dell as well.
Samsung, who make the A4 CPU and RAM for Apple’s iOS products, has been severely constrained with its high end Super-AMOLED display that powers its Galaxy S phones. Those phones have been the primary high-end Android competition for the iPhone.
Perhaps Apple is trying to move away from doing business with its hardware competitors.
The bad news in this regard is that Toshiba also has just started to make Android devices.