For the time being, it is leaving all the OLED R&D on ice
Sony has been trying to keep up with Samsung and LG on the OLED display market, but it seems to be throwing in the towel, at least for now. Which is to say, it has frozen all OLED development plans.That's what a report disseminated through Nikkei revealed anyway, the other day. Which was rather surprising, given the size of Sony Corporation.
Sony is one of the largest international business groups, with slices of pie in more or less every relevant field of study and marketing, from technology to film making.
Normally, that would mean a lot of profit to spread across a whole bunch of projects. Unfortunately, the Japan-headquartered IT player hasn't been doing that well.
Over the past several years, it has been suffering from a fair few financial troubles, reflected in the weakening revenues.
The OLED segment is just the latest one to bite the bullet because of division prioritization. One might even argue that it is fortunate, compared to others.
After all, Sony isn't axing the whole R&D and production division completely. It's just putting its plans “on ice” so to speak.
The employees involved in that sub-business will be moved to work on other projects, most notably that of 4K LCDs.
In case you've only become interested in such things recently, 4K liquid crystal displays are monitors and television sets with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
For the most part, such products sell for less than OLED panels with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels).
Maybe in a few years, organic light-emitting diodes will no longer cost an arm and a leg to implement, or even research. Until then, it will go with “normal” TVs, since there are signs of possible near-term and mid-term profit.
At that point, Sony will doubtlessly revisit the decision. Unlike what happened to the PC division, which was totally offloaded and left to fend for itself.
Sony already has some 4K-capable displays up for sale, like the Bravia UHD TV collection. Meanwhile, it has been providing its cameras, video recorders and even mobile devices with 4K recording/streaming capabilities.
It's not planning on establishing a closed ecosystem, but it has been making sure, like its rivals, that the 4K playback/recording technology has been spreading far and wide. Alas, the report about the freezing of OLED and focus on 4K didn't come accompanied by hints about any future product lines.