POSCO’s magnesium alloy sheets are paving the way for production of lighter and more durable lightweight laptops and this is injecting new vitality to the laptop market, which has been recently undermined by tablet PCs and smartphones. POSCO is supplying magnesium alloy sheets for the production of Gram, LG Electronics’ ultra-light laptops.
On January 2, LG Electronics announced a 2017 version of Gram under the catchphrase of “Extending Battery Time.” Gram has led the ultra-light laptop market since its launch in 2014 with a concept of a laptop which weighs less than 1kg. POSCO has been continuously supplying optimal exterior magnesium materials through close cooperation with LG Electronics since the development stage of Gram.
In 2015, POSCO developed the ‘E-Form’ magnesium alloy that significantly improved magnesium’s room temperature moldability, a major weakness of magnesium and applied it to the bottom covers of the Gram 14 and 15 series. Among them, Gram 15 accomplished rare feats of picking up the 2016 iF Design Awards’ Gold Prize and a Red Dot Design prize, and becoming listed as the world’s lightest 15.6-inch laptop in the Guinness Book of World’s Records.
POSCO did not allow itself to become complacent and instead rolled out its ‘E-Form Plus’ alloy that have improved productivity and processability. In response to it, LG Electronics expanded the use of the alloy into all 13-, 14-, and 15-inch Gram lines in 2017, further solidifying their partnership.
The 2017 version of Gram features a battery life of up to 24 hours, a 40% larger cooling fan against heat, a keyboard backlight for enhanced ease of use and dual-channel memory slots for more convenient memory upgrading. In spite of these great improvements, Gram laptops record lower or equivalent weight compared to the existing models [940g (13.3-inch model), 970g (14.0-inch model) and 1,090g (15.6-inch model)] and received good reviews that helped earn it a reputation as being “a perfect laptop” from specialized review websites and online communities.
The growth of the entire laptop market is slowing down due to the emergence of smartphones and tablets but ultra-light and slim laptops are enjoying growth at a rate of 15% to 20% per year. According to market researcher Juniper Research, shipments of ultra-light laptops throughout the world amounted to only 3.7 million units in 2011 when Intel announced its ultra-light laptop concept but soared to 178 million units in 2016. They are expected to account for 42.7% of the entire laptop market in 2017, further expanding the ultra-light laptop market in the future.
By steadily developing customized materials and processing solutions for its customers, POSCO will step up its marketing efforts to position magnesium alloy sheets as a representative material for a variety of mobile products, apart from laptop computers.