Japanese OLED Gang: Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp, Idemitsu Kosan, Sumitomo Chemical, Dainippon Screen, Shimadzu, Hitachi Zosen

According to the Nikkei business daily that was reported on July 10, 2008, Japanese companies are teaming up to develop next generation OLED displays. The companies include Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic (Matsushita), Sharp, Idemitsu Kosan, Sumitomo Chemical, Dainippon Screen, Shimadzu, and Hitachi Zosen. The Japanese government is also involved in increasing the size and decrease the production cost of OLED-based displays. This OLED group will be more able to compete against Korean rivals such as LG Electronics and Samsung SDI.

Sony XEL-1 11

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will invest JPY 3.5 billion (US$32.78 million) in the OLED project that will run through 2012. I would think the Japanese would be much longer term than just three years. The investment is paltry compared to what a single G8 TFT LCD fabrication requires: US$2 billion or more. Put the money where the mouth is. US$32.78 million is a small drop in the bucket when it comes to investment towards future display technologies. If the Japanese government was serious about OLED technology, I would think it would be closer to US$32.78 billion instead.

OLED Structure
Image Courtesy: How Stuff Works

OLED is touted as the next-generation display technology but it might really take another generation for this technology to compete head on with LCDs. Currently the largest OLED in production is just 11″ in size while the lifetime is about half of LCDs and plasmas. There is also the challenge of differential aging where different phosphors decline in brightness over time. This can lead to a weird OLED display in just a matter of a few years. Compensation circuitry to pump more electricity to increase the brightness will only make matters worse as the weakening phosphor will be driven harder and harder and accelerating the decline. There are other significant issues that are difficult to overcome for OLED to take its place as the next-gen display technology.

Samsung SDI has announced that it would dramatically increase production capacity by six fold of active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays by mid-2009. Samsung SDI will invest KRW 551.8 billion (US$529 million) to improve production capacity to 9 million units per month of 2″ equivalent displays. Samsung SDI’s current capacity is at 1.5 million units per month.

Source: Reuters (1, 2) via OLED-Info.com

[tags]OLED, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp, Idemitsu Kosan, Sumitomo Chemical, Dainippon Screen, Shimadzu, Hitachi Zosen, Samsung SDI, LG Electronics, LGE, LG, OLED Display, Japanese OLED[/tags]

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