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Digital cameras get organic displays

07 Mar 2003

Color displays made from organic light emitters look set to transform the look of consumer electronics in 2003.

The world's first product featuring a full-color active-matrix organic (AM-OLED) display will go on sale next month. Kodak, the US imaging specialist, has announced that a 2.2 inch diagonal OLED display will be an integral part of its LS633 digital camera which launches in Europe and Asia in a few weeks time.

Kodak says that replacing the conventional LCD screen found on digital cameras with a screen made from organic light emitters gives brighter, more vivid images and a viewing angle of 165 degrees. As a result, the photographer can use the camera's screen as a viewfinder from almost any angle.

The display has been developed by SK Display Corporation, a joint venture between Sanyo Electric and Kodak. SK successfully made the first full-colour 2.4 inch colour AM-OLED display in 1999 and last year demonstrated a 15-inch version. In a related news release, Sanyo says that it is gearing up one of its factories to start mass production of OLED displays.

"The commercialization of our OLED technology opens new opportunities in new markets for Kodak and for the display industry," said Bernard Masson, president of Kodak's display group. "We are planning innovative products and new, display-based devices that extend today's product categories."

The Kodak announcement is significant as it suggests that OLED technology has finally reached suitable price, performance and reliability levels to be incorporated into consumer electronic items. As a result, it may not be long before OLED displays are found in mobile phones, stereos and DVD players.

Last year Sanyo says that it, SK and Kodak shipped more than 300 OLED displays for trial use in mobile phones. The market analysts DisplaySearch and Stanford Resources forecast that the market for OLED displays could reach USD 3 billion by 2007.

Author
Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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