Vizio 2012 TVs
Sony is still working on OLED technology

17 Jan 2012 | Rasmus Larsen |

Last week it was reported by a The Daily Yomiuri that Sony has quit the OLED-TV consumer market. However, at CES 2012 Sony underlined that they are still working on OLED-TVs alongside other projects such as the Crystal LED-TV. Confused?

Sony is still working on OLED

Sony released the first OLED-TV in 2007 and has also exhibited larger OLED-TV prototypes. The TV was only 11 inches large and incredibly expensive but it was a real product. In 2010 it was announced that Sony stopped production of the 11-incher and last week it was reported that Sony has quit the OLED-TV consumer market. The first two arguments are entirely true, but the last one is most likely inaccurate. Here’s why.

Sony’s Crystal LED prototype
Sony Crystal LED prototype does not mark the end of Sony’s OLED plans

At the CES 2012 show Sony representatives told practically everyone watching their impressive Crystal LED-TV prototype that Crystal LED technology was developed in parallel to other technologies, including OLED – we heard it ourselves. We obviously cannot expect a floor representative from Sony to know much about Sony’s internal research and development plans but the booth speech seemed dictated from a higher-level representative.

That is one thing, and we would not count that as a valid argument if it was not for a more compelling one. And this is the cause for the misunderstanding, we assume. Sony recently created a joint venture company called Japan Display together with Toshiba, Hitachi and the Japanese government, and left their S-LCD partnership with Samsung.

Sony and Japan Display plan to make OLED panels in the future

Japan Display will become “the world’s largest manufacturer of small to medium size LCD panels” (small to medium size means smartphones to tablets/laptops). At least that is the official statement but we recently reported that Japan Display has also bought Panasonic’s LCD-TV production plant. And most importantly; Japan display is focusing on R&D in display technology, including OLED. Sony even stated that it may license – or even give away – their OLED patents to the new Japan Display alliance.

So, there you pretty much have it. Sony might have stopped production of OLED-TV panels for consumers in their own parent company, but research, development and production continues in Japan Display. And after all Sony part of Japan Display, which makes Sony active in the OLED display field, right? It is a play with words but Sony is still in the OLED game.

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