Japanese companies Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. have reportedly signed in a joint venture to propel the mass production of OLED TVs. News agency Reuters reports that the Japanese companies have joined forces as they are facing tough competition from their South Korean counterparts (let's cite Samsung and LG).
Sony was the first in the industry to unveil OLED TVs and it was back in 2007, but due to how expensive the technology was (it still is) and as LCD was still peaking, the technology got lost in the market against a huge wave of budget LCD television sets.
The deal between Sony and Panasonic foresees they will create technology that will help OLED TVs to get the push it needs, and the push it needs is of course related to how expensive the final product comes to the consumer. Securities Japan chief analyst Masayuki Otan says that the two Japanese companies are stepping in too late in the game.
Otani said that Sony and Panasonic do not have enough resources to make OLED TVs as large as those of Samsung or LG and they haven't been able to produce it in a price that can beat their other Asian "enemies" either; Sony would need to charge nearly the double of what Samsung is charging for its 55-inch OLED TV ($9000) to produce the same device.
Analysts predict that the deal between Sony and Panasonic will fail if they do not find a third partner: "Both Sony and Panasonic would not be successful if they were to develop and sell OLED televisions alone. They have no choice but to find a partner," says Makoto Kikuchi, CEO of Myojo Asset Management.
And the obvious answer resides nearby, in Taiwan. H.P. Chang, from LCD-research firm Witview, says the Sony-Panasonic deal could find an ideal partner in AU Optronics, the display division of Acer, which is located in Taiwan: "If Sony and Panasonic need to have a partner to enlarge production scale, AU is likely their only choice," he said.