Sony, Panasonic confirm OLED TV partnership: Apple, Samsung set in sights?

Summary:As expected, Sony and Panasonic have agreed to partner up to take on Samsung --- and likely Apple --- as the OLED television industry sets its sights on a shift away from LCD technology.

Japan's two largest television set makers, Sony and Panasonic, have agreed to join forces on OLED displays, following a rumbling that the two could partner up by the end of June.

In a statement, the two companies said they will establish mass-production technology for OLED panels by 2013 by "integrating their unique technologies."

The plan was aimed at Samsung, the monopoly holder of the television business, following its LCD unit spin-off last year to make way for an OLED television production line.

It also strategically ramps up efforts to take on an expected Apple television set, thought to be released early next year or as far away as 2014, depending on which analyst you call.

OLED televisions are as thin as half-a-centimeter and display dazzling colour and picture quality, while using a fraction of the power consumed in an ordinary LCD display.

Analysts predict the OLED television market could rocket to 16 percent of the overall market --- up by 4 percent today --- to $20 billion by 2018.

Samsung has been ahead of the curve, despite Sony pioneering the first OLED display in 2007. But the greatest threat to the wider television building industry is Apple, even though it has yet to announce a television set of its own.

Apple's forthcoming announcement on an expected television could include OLED technology but rumours have been few and far between. As is the case with almost anything Apple, no-one is quite sure what the Cupertino-based technology giant has up its sleeve.

The defensive move could revive the television market and prepare Sony and Panasonic for an expected battle in the coming years as televisions are expected to increase in pixel density, colour and picture quality, while selling for a lower price than where they are now.

Image credit: CNET.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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