Sony Shows 21-inch OLED Prototype, Promises More

Sony unveiled its latest prototype OLED (organic light emitting diode) panel at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, but didn't announce a new television to follow the 11-inch model it launched at CES 2008.

Or at least, it hasn't announced one yet.

At a news conference on Wednesday evening, Stan Glasgow, president of U.S.-based Sony Electronics, said that something related to OLED will be coming in Thursday morning's keynote address by Sony CEO Howard Stringer.

"Stay tuned for even more news on the OLED front during Sir. Howard's keynote tomorrow," he said without elaborating on details. Without knowing more, it's impossible to tell what Sony has up its sleeve for the keynote, but a new OLED TV has been on the cards for some time.

Speaking at a conference in May last year, Stringer said a new OLED TV based on a 27-inch panel would be coming "within the next 12 months." On Wednesday, a Sony U.S. spokesman said they couldn't comment on whether that target remains in the company's sights.

The new prototype panel unveiled on Wednesday is a 21-inch model that sits between Sony's 11-inch screen, which is used in the commercial XEL-1 television, and the 27-inch prototype that has appeared at several trade shows including CES 2008.

Like the other panels the 21-inch screen offers bright, crisp images and deep colors.

OLED screens have pixels that contain an organic material that emits its own light so no backlight is needed. That helps make the displays thinner and reduce power consumption. OLED screens also handle fast-moving images better and offer richer color reproduction than current LCDs and PDPs but they remain expensive to produce. Sony's XEL-1 costs about US$2,500.

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