Sony Still Trying to Meet Demand For LCD Panels, Has Twofold Strategy

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November 30, 2005 - Sony officials have indicated that they never thought flat-panel televisions would become as popular as fast as they have, and this inaccurate estimation—and their inability to manufacture them themselves—has cost them. According to equity analyst John Yang with Tokyo’s Standard & Poor’s, if Sony doesn’t get a toehold soon, their financial trouble will only continue.

Yang said, "Unless you can make your own [LCD] panels, unless you can procure the panels in-house, you're dead meat."

Sony is taking baby steps towards LCD independence. First, they invested $1 billion (US) to partner with archrival Samsung on a 50-50 venture to manufacture LCD panels in a plant in South Korea. The plant, currently open and operating, will provide Sony with enough panel material for over 350,000 32-inch televisions. It is not known if Sony has plans to works towards LCD manufacturing for its digital cameras.

Secondly, Sony yesterday issued an announcement with oil company Idemitsu Kosan, which stated that they will work together on developing materials used in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Unlike LED displays, OLED displays do not require a backlight and can thus be made with even thinner screens. Sony already makes small 3.8" OLED displays for its PDAs, but Idemitsu is a leading developer in this field and could no doubt give a big boost to Sony’s R&D.

"The whole race has just begun for Sony," said Yang.

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