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Sony entering commercial OLED TV partnership with AU Optronics?

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ET News cites information from sources that Sony has sent engineers to an AU Optronics (AUO) factory in Taiwan in order to start OLED development.

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Sony has been quiet on the OLED TV front since withdrawing its 11-inch XEL-1 from the market a couple of years ago, and while Samsung and LG showed off 55-inch OLED sets at CES this year Sony only brought its Crystal LED prototype. However, the company has always said that it was continuing development of OLED technology, and if reports coming out of Korea are to be believed its re-entry into the market may not be far off. ET News cites sources with information that Sony has sent engineers to an AU Optronics (AUO) factory in Taiwan in order to collaborate on commercial OLED development. The partnership is reportedly operating out of AUO's sixth-generation plant, which is designed to produce mid-sized panels, but if possible the companies plan to expand to the eighth-generation facility and develop larger displays.

Chung Yoon-sung of NPD group member DisplaySearch Korea says "Sony and AUO's OLED partnership actually started last year. Basically, Sony has decided to work with Taiwanese manufacturing after Samsung and LG pushed them into third place in the market." The move would certainly seem to make sense for Sony's TV business, which has suffered huge losses due to high manufacturing costs and unfavorable exchange rates with the yen, and a move towards OLED would fit in with the company's stated desire to focus on premium products. That said, with LG announcing yesterday that its own 55-inch OLED TV will come in at around $8,000, it could be a little too premium for a Japanese manufacturer right now, even one moving away from domestic production.

Hyunhu Jang contributed to this report.