The TV panel business has long been a tangled web of short-lived joint ventures and temporary partnerships, so the latest rumors that Sony is working on yet another industry relationship wouldn't be a surprise, except that this partnership is reportedly with longtime rival Panasonic. Following rumors that Sony may have be partnering n OLED TVs with AU Optronics, both Nikkei and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that Sony is looking to team up with Panasonic to develop and produce OLED display panels, though talks are still very much in the "preliminary stages" and could still fall through. If they don't, the new plan would certainly fall in line with Sony's attempt to reboot its television division by developing OLED and Crystal LED TVs, not to mention clarify the company's decision to pull out of LCD partnerships with both Samsung and Sharp.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai is committed to bringing the TV division back to profitability by 2013, but chances are OLED TVs won't be part of that short-term goal. It isn't just that they are still wildly expensive (Samsung's 55-inch OLED TV will be priced over $9,000 while LG's will near the $8,000 mark), but also, as Nikkei reports, any products created from the partnership may not see commercial release until 2015. One hopes that the combined talent of Sony and Panasonic would spend that time finding a way to bring the cost of large OLED TV panels down from their current stratospheric prices.