Kodak and Sanyo go organic in display partnership

In a $400 million adventure, Sanyo Electric and Eastman Kodak have announced they will jointly manufacturer a new breed of ultra-thin, 'organic' LED displays.

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By  Kieran Potts Published  December 12, 2001

Sanyo Electric, Japan’s third largest consumer electronics maker, and photo film giant Eastman Kodak, have unveiled plans to produce the world’s first mass production of ultra-thin, next-generation displays. The venture will see a total investment of around $400 million.

The new screen technology is called organic light-emitting diode (OLED), and will one day appear in cell phones, digital cameras and other handheld gadgets where size and battery power are primary constraints. As the technology develops, it is hoped that OLED will become the standard for television displays also.

The components used in OLED screens emit light when a current is passed through them, allowing thinner construction and using less power than LCDs, which require backlighting. The technology also promises higher contrasts and faster response times for moving pictures — so that images do not linger on the screen after the picture frame has moved on.

The two companies claim they could capture 30 per cent of the global market share of mini-screens within the first five years. Large volume output will begin February 2002. The companies expect the project to be making a profit by its third year.

Sanyo will take a 66 per cent stake in the venture, while Kodak will hold the rest.

The enterprise will be up against tough competition, as almost all monitor manufacturers are now dedicated to developing OLED as the future colour display standard.

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