Sony and panasonic cancel their OLED joint-development project
In June 2012, Sony and Panasonic announced that two companies will jointly develop technologies for OLED TV panels mass production. Now the two Japanese companies announced that they canceled the joint development. The two companies will continue to develop OLED technologies independently, but will focus on UHD LCDs. Sony and Panasonic explains tha OLED TVs did "not deliver the growth originally envisioned, and are unlikely to be commercially viable in the near future.
In January 2013 (during last year's CES event), the two companies unveiled 56" 4K OLED TV prototypes. The Oxide-TFT substrate was produced by AUO. We know that Panasonic used an ink-jet printing process, Sumitomo's P-OLED materials and a direct-emission architecture. Sony used their own Super Top Emission OLED technology and evaporable OLED materials.
Only a couple of months ago, the OLED Association said that Panasonic are progressing fast enough to launch the 55" (probably 56") UHD OLED TV as early as Q4 2013. They said Panasonic will start mass production in its Himeji Pilot Gen-5.5 line (with limited initial production capacity). Earlier it was estimated that Panasonic's OLED TV will only be ready in 2015.
Samsung and LG meanwhile continue their OLED TV drive. LG is building a $650 million Gen-8 OLED TV fab that will enable them to increase production dramatically and hopefully reduce prices too - by mid 2014. It's likely that Samsung is not far behind. The two companies already offer curved OLED TVs (LG also offer flat ones). Recently LG lowered the price of their 55" OLED TV to $8,499 in the US (down from $14,999 half a year ago).
I think we'll soon know whether Sony is making the same mistake they did when they did not enter the flat panel TV market a few years ago. It may also be that the production technologies chosen by the Japanese companies were simply too complicated and costly to develop at this stage.