OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) is a new technology that enables brighter, more efficient, thinner, faster and better looking displays. OLED panels feature better refresh rates and contrast than either LCD or Plasma - and can be made flexible and transparent.
Sony has been involved with OLED research, development and production for years, and can claim several OLED firsts: in 2004 they launched the world's first PDA with an OLED display (the 3.8" Clie PEG-VZ90), the world's first OLED TV in 2007 (the 11" XEL-1) and for a while they offered the largest OLED displays (the 24.5" BVM-F250 professional OLED monitors).
Sony OLED TV
Back in 2007, Sony launched the world's first OLED TV (the XEL-1), although at 11", it should not really be considered a TV. It was only made in small quantities and the price ($2,500) was very high. In January 2013 Sony unveiled the world's first 4K OLED TV prototype unit. The panel was 56" in size and uses an Oxide-TFT and Sony's own "Super Top Emission" OLED technology. Sony never released this TV commercially.
Sony has been collaborating with Panasonic on OLED TV production technology, but this collaboration was later canceled. At this stage it is not clear whether Sony is still aiming to mass produce OLED TVs in the future, and some reports suggest that the company is in talks with LG Display to acquire OLED panels.
Professional OLED monitors
Sony offers several professional OLED monitors for the film and broadcasting industries, including the PVM 740 (7.4 inch), PVM 1741 (17 inch), and the PVM 2541 (25 inch) and the premium BVM F170 (17 inch) and BVM F250 (25 inch). Sony also offers OLED monitors for the medical market. In September 2012 Sony announced that they have sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and in fact their Nagoya OLED production fab is running at "full capacity".
XEL-1, the world's first OLED TV
Sony made huge headlines when they introduced the world's first OLED TV, the 11" XEL-1, in November 2007. The XEL-1 is actually more of a prototype than a commercial set - they only make a thousand units a month of this expensive (2,500$!) television. But Sony sure made their mark on the OLED world. In February 2010 Sony announced that they will cease production of the TV in Japan.
Sony mobile OLED Products
In past years, Sony released several mobile devices that adopted OLED displays. The original portable Vita gaming console is one example. Sony sold over 2 million Vita consoles. The Vita featured a 5" touch Samsung-Made OLED display (960x544), but Sony switched to an LCD in the newer Vita as they wanted to reduce the cost of the device.
In January 2009, Sony unveiled their 'X' series OLED walkman. They claimed it was the best sounding walkman ever, and it's got the best display, too: a 3-inch 432x240 touch AMOLED. Sony has also used a large AMOLED in their NW-A840 walkman.
Sony OLED microdisplays
Sony are also producing OLED microdisplays, and have several such displays on the market, including a 0.5" XGA (1024x768) panel for digital camera EVFs and a 0.7" 1280x720 microdisplay used in Sony's HMD products.
The latest Sony OLED News:
- Sony prices its XBR-A1E OLED TVs: $5,000 for the 55" and $6,500 for the 65"
- Sony reports excellent PlayStation VR HMD sales
- A brief overview of the OLED Microdisplay market
- Sony to use OLED displays in its 2018 flagship phones
- Sony launches its long-awaited A1E OLED TV
- ODG announces two new OLED-based AR headsets
- ETNews: LGD agreed to supply 100,000 OLED TV panels to Sony each year