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September 21, 2005 - Camera and video giant Canon is spending ¥500 billion (around $4.5 billion) on developing new technologies for organic LED screens and rear-projection TVs.
According to a Bloomberg article and press reports on Inquirer.net, the Japanese giant announced on Wednesday that they will be spending the money over the next few years to develop products that use the new Organic LED (OLED) display technology. Products that use this new technology are already available, but the cost of the panels and the difficulty in manufacturing larger panels has limited the types of products they can be used in: only a handful of digital cameras use the screens (such as the Kodak LS633), which are brighter and have a wider viewing angle than traditional screens. Canon will be spending the money (which is a huge increase from the ¥300 billion they had previously budgeted) to improve the technology and develop new products.
Canon themselves did not confirm the amount, but a spokesman did confirm to a Bloomberg reporter that the company is spending more on Research & Development for displays and is planning to start offering products that use OLED screens starting in 2007. The spokesman did not give details, but digital cameras would seem to be an obvious place for these new displays to be used: OLED displays are brighter, use less electricity, and look better in daylight than traditional LED displays, all of which are big advantages for digital cameras.
Canon Chairman Fujio Mitarai also confirmed at the recent Canon expo in New York that the company is planning to aggressively enter the display market with a range of TVs that use both OLED and the new Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display (SED) technologies that the company developed with Toshiba.