Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in early discussions to create a joint venture in next-gen panel tech for mobile devices with key Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. While OLED tech for TVs has been a pursuit of numerous companies, LG and Samsung have led the charge for smaller screens in mobile devices. According to people familiar with the matter, Japanese manufacturers hope they can compete with their Korean rivals in smaller panels through the new joint venture.

“Both companies have been struggling for years to find a low-cost way to develop the organic light-emitting diode display, or OLED, technologies to make big and ultrathin televisions. Sony and Panasonic formed an alliance in 2012 to jointly develop OLED technology, but decided to call off the venture late last year,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“While Sony was the first to develop and release the world’s first OLED TV in 2007, Korean makers including Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. have driven the OLED market, applying these screens in smartphones,” notes the article.

During a media session yesterday, Sony Chief Exec Kazuo Hirai noted that it made more sense for his company to focus on offering more cost-effective 4K LCDs, although Sony will continue to invest in pro OLED monitors for the film, broadcast and medical industries.

Japan Display — formed two years ago with a merger of the LCD units of Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba — already has a pilot line at its plant to develop OLED screens.