Eastman Kodak Company is engaged primarily in developing, manufacturing and marketing traditional and digital imaging products, services and solutions. OLEDs were originally discovered, developed and patented by Kodak, and the company has been involved in licensing and producing OLED screens. Kodak released the world's first camera to use an AMOLED screen, have released the largest (7.6") OLED photo frame and have licensed its OLED technology to over 20 companies.
We have published two interviews with Kodak's OLED systems, one about OLED display and one about OLED lighting. In September 2009, Kodak sent us an update on their OLED lighting and displays program.
The latest Kodak OLED news:
A group of ex-Kodak employees, who left the company following Kodak's OLED business acquisition by LG in December 2010 has formed a new company, called TechnoCorp Energy. The company (based in New York, US) will work on OLED Lighting, and has already given seed funding. It's not clear yet whether they will use Kodak's OLED Lighting IP, which was bought by LG as part of the acquisition.
Back in December, LG announced it will buy Kodak's OLED unit. Back then the price was not revealed - but in Kodak's latest quarterly report they reveal that the price was $100 million. Kodak also entered into a licensing transaction with LG which gave them $414 million in revenue, this is not related to OLEDs.
Kodak's OLED patent cover OLED displays architecture (including the white-OLED with color filter design), OLED lighting and OLED manufacturing methods. In June 2008 we posted an interview with Mr. Corey Hewitt and Dr. James Buntaine from Kodak OLED Systems. In December we published an interview with Mr. Steven Van Slyke and Dr. Yuan-Sheng Tyan - discussing Kodak's OLED lighting technologies and business.
Kodak announced today that it has completed the previously announced sale of its OLED business to an entity set up by a group of LG companies.
I guess we now wait to see how LG handles their new OLED IP and technologies. There are rumors that they will create a new entity called LG OLED to handle all OLED business within the group.
Kodak announced today that they have sold all their OLED related assets to a group of LG companies. Kodak will still have access to the technology to use in its own product.
Kodak is doing this to strengthen their financial situation. They also recognize that in order to realize the full value of the OLED business, it needs a significant investment.
This is a sad day for Kodak I think - they have invented OLEDs in 1970 and have been working on the technology for 40 years now (!). It'll be interesting to see what LG will do with Kodak's IP (which is mostly about Fluorescent OLEDs and manufacturing equipment). In any case, LG is showing that they are truly committed to OLEDs.
So the 2009 holiday season is almost here - and obviously you'd like a new gadget with an OLED display. So what are your options?
Sadly, there aren't that many OLED TVs around as we'd hope for. Sony is still selling the XEL-1 (at around $2,200) - but you should hurry, as they have stopped the production line, and will soon stop offering this TV. Your other option is LG's 15" OLED TV - but this is currently available in Korea only, for around $2600. It's probably best to wait a few years before actually buying an OLED TV...
There are many OLED phones you can choose from... it seems that every week Samsung releases yet another smartphone with a large touch OLED. Samsung currently offers dozens of models - including the Impression, the Moment, the Behold II, the Omnia II and the Jet. Nokia is offering the N86 and even HP recently announced an OLED phone - the iPAQ Glisten.
Compared to mobile phones, there are very little OLED digital cameras around... There's the Samsung TL320 and the NV24HD, and also Nikon's new S70 - with a large touch AMOLED, 12Mp sensor and 5X optical zoo.
Kodak has made a special new trophy for their Kodak Challenge (Gold tournament). It includes 3 OLED displays (which are probably the 7.6" photo frames), showing a slideshow of photos from the golf tournament.
IGNIS Innovation, in partnership with Kodak and Prime View International (PVI), has developed a 5" segment of a 32" OLED HDTV AMOLED display, using industry standard amorphous silicon thin film transistors (TFT). The prototype uses IGNIS' MaxLIfe solution, which compensates separately for both the TFT and LED degradation using only an electrical feedback - an industry first. This technology does not use any optical sensors which are unreliable.
IGNIS reports 20 years lifetime (when watching 12 hours a day), there is no burn-in images (the MaxLife technology keeps differential aging to 3% or less). The prototype was built using an amorphous silicon backplane from PVI using their standard a-Si LCD mass production process while the frontplane uses Kodak's long life and low power RGBW technology that delivers a vivid and outstanding viewing experience. They say that this combination provides the first reliable, low ost and scalable architecture.
IGNIS has also shown a 2.2" QVGA (181ppi) display module, using their AdMo (Advanced Mobile) compensation platform. They report over 50,000hrs lifetime (in house testing), large temperature range (-30c to 80c), suitable for automotive applications. The sophisticated compensation technology is built entirely in-pixel, meaning low-cost driver ICs are used, lending itself to a simple ‘drop-in’ display that is easily swappable into devices using legacy LCDs. The AdMo prototype use an amorphous silicon backplane, the standard TFT of the LCD industry that has traditionally been regarded as unusable for AMOLED displays. However, through its patented technology IGNIS is able compensate for the low mobility and in-stabilities of amorphous silicon, and as a result, for no additional capital investment costs, enables the manufacture of AMOLED backplanes at existing TFT plants.
Mr. Corey Hewitt is the co-general manager, operations manager and VP of Kodak OLED Systems. Dr. James Buntaine is the second co-general manager, and also the CTO and VP.
They were kind enough to send us an update on Kodak's OLED program and market outlook:
Kodak OLED Technology Update & Advancements
Kodak expertise and experience lies in material discovery, organic layer design, mechanistic understanding, image science, panel/module design, and manufacturing technology. These key value drivers associated with the Kodak technology, know-how and patents, maintain Kodak as an industry leader in enabling both the OLED flat-panel display and OLED solid-state lighting industries. Provided below are selected key areas technology and Kodak accomplishments: