Every so often, we get an update from the OLED front, promising big and beautiful displays just a year or two away. Samsung is the latest with the cheery news.
According to OLEDnet, Samsung is trying to get generation 5.5 of its production line up and running by the first half of 2011, allowing for the creation of 42-inch OLED displays. If all goes to plan, Samsung could get televisions of that size into trial production by the end of the year. Domestic equipment companies are apparently starting to develop the equipment necessary to produce these TVs.
The news puts Samsung in line with rival LG, which earlier this year said consumers may be able to buy 40-inch OLED TVs in 2012. Won Kim, LG’s vice president in charge of OLED, acknowledged that such a product would probably be expensive. For reference, Sony’s existing 11-inch OLED TV costs $2,500.
I’ve said this before, but I think OLED’s mass market prospects are limited. LCD televisions, particularly LED-backlit models, have caught up to OLED on color reproduction and contrast ratios, with slim frames to boot. Best of all, you can buy them now for under $2,000, and those prices are sure to fall with time. LG’s Kim believes price parity for OLED won’t happen until 2016.
If you’re not wishing for a big-screen OLED miracle, there’s still some good news in OLEDnet’s report: Generation 5.5 also allows for double the production volume of mobile displays. I’m guessing that will bring prices down, making OLED a more attractive option for smartphone makers.