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). Today Sony produces OLED TVs - using panels produced by LG Display.
Back in 2007, Sony launched the "world's first OLED TV" (the XEL-1), although at 11-inch, it should not really be considered a TV - maybe not even a monitor. It was only made in small quantities and the price ($2,500) was very high. In February 2010 Sony stopped producing the XEL-1.
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's main product line is now smartphones - but the company has yet to release an OLED smartphone.
Sony PlayStation VR
In October 2016 Sony launched its PlayStation VR HMD. Sony's VR HMD uses a 5.7" FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED display (produced by Samsung Display), 360-degree tracking and 3D audio. Sony enjoyed strong sales of this VR headset.
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.
Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo says that Apple plans to launch its first AR headset in Q4 2022, powered by dual 4K OLED microdisplays, produced by Sony. The headset will feature Mac-level computer power and will not require a tethered smartphone to operate.
In 2016 Sony launched its successful Sony Playstation VR Headset, with its 5.7" FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED display. The company is getting ready to release an updated version, and during its latest developer summit, it revealed some initial details.
The new VR headset will feature OLED displays, with higher resolutions - there will be dual 2000x2040 displays. The field of view is also improved to 110-degress (up from 100 degrees in the original PSVR).
According to a new report from Korea, SDC is set to begin producing full module prototypes in June this year. In addition SDC had to increase the brightness of its panels as TV makers said it is not enough for premium TV adoption. SDC will produce both TV and monitor prototypes, which it will send to potential customers (such as Samsung Electronics, Sony, and Chinese TV makers). When customers approve the prototypes, SDC will be ready for commercial production.
Sony's flagship 2021 Android OLED TV, the A90J, will start shipping on March 15th, starting at $2,999 for the 55" model. The A90J use LG's latest WOLED panels, with sizes of 55-, 65- and 83-inches. Sony says that the A90J is its brightest OLED TV ever.
The TV uses Sony's latest Cognitive Processor XR that provides the company's latest AI processor for an upgraded audio and visual experience. Other features includes HDMI 2.1, 4K 120Hz support, eARC, VRR and ALLM, Netflix Calibrated mode, HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced support.
This is the first time we hear of a 83-inch OLED. This is the size that Sony quotes on their own product page, so this is not likely to be a mistake. It will be interesting to hear whether LG will announced this new size soon. Currently the company produces 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 88-inch OLED panels.
Sony Electronics announced its 2021 TVs, with two OLED TVs at the top of the range. First up is Sony's flagship 2021 Android OLED TV, the A90J, which will be Sony's brightest OLED TV ever. The 4K TV will come in 55-inch, 65-inch and 83-inch (yes, we will post on this soon - the first time we hear of a 83-inch OLED).
The A90J uses Sony's latest Cognitive Processor XR that provides the company's latest AI processor for an upgraded audio and visual experience. Other features includes HDMI 2.1, 4K 120Hz support, eARC, VRR and ALLM, Netflix Calibrated mode, HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced support. The A90J uses Sony's built-in sound system (Acousting Surface Audio+) that uses the OLED panel itself as a speaker.
Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED announced that it has prevailed in its patent infringement action in Germany against LG Display, LG Electronics and Sony. The Mannheim District Court in Germany held that the defendants had infringed Solas’ German patent DE 102 54 511 B4 concerning a control circuit for light emitting diodes.
This technology, owned by Solas, is used in OLED panels used in LG ans Sony's TVs. According to the court's decision, LG and Sony will have to stop marketing products in Germany that infringe upon Solas' patents and they will have to recall from commercial customers all infringing products. LG and Sony must also must render to Solas a detailed accounting necessary to establish damages owed by the defendants for sales of infringing products in Germany dating back to April, 2009.
According to rumors from Japan, Sony is set to supply Apple with OLED Microdisplays for Apple's future AR headset project. The rumors did not include more information than that...
Apple (like all other consumer electronics giants) is very active with AR R&D, as many believe that AR headsets will be very popular in the future and may replace smartphones. While I'm a bit skeptical about this technology, it is evident that many companies are increasing their R&D efforts in this field.
According to Omdia, Samsung Display has started to provide QD-OLED TV prototypes to potential customers - including Samsung Electronics, Sony and Panasonic. Samsung Display is on track to start mass production in Q3 2021.
Interestingly, Samsung Electronics is still not sure whether it will adopt QD-OLED TVs in 2021, as the company aims to focus on mini-LED panels in 2021, and may only release QD-OLED TVs in 2022.
In early 2019, nreal unveiled its AR glasses that provide high quality 52-degree FOV images in a relatively small and normal-looking frame that weighs just 85 grams. The prototypes shown at CES used Sony's FHD 0.7" OLED microdisplays (ECX335AF-7), but according to reports the commercial units will use BOE's OLED microdisplays (probably sized 0.71").