SEOUL South Korean display screen maker Samsung SDI Co (006400.KS) said on Thursday it had developed a 31-inch ultra-thin organic screen, raising the stakes in an accelerating worldwide race for organic displays.
Samsung SDI's announcement comes after Sony Corp (6758.T) began sales of 11-inch OLED TVs in November. The Japanese company has showcased a 27-inch prototype OLED TV in the past.
Flat screen makers are increasingly looking at active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AM-OLED) as a growth driver because they produce brighter images and use less power.
Samsung SDI officials declined to say when the company's 31-inch OLED screen would be mass-produced, saying the decision depended on TV set makers' plans.
But they said Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world's largest maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, would showcase a 31-inch prototype TV set at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January.
Samsung SDI is also planning to mass-produce 14-inch screens in 2008, Yoo Eui-jin, head of Samsung SDI's AM-OLED team, said at a press conference introducing the display.
Although Yoo declined to name the companies that would use the AM-OLED screens, he said a number of companies had expressed interest.
Samsung SDI said its 31-inch module is only 4.3 mm thick, or one-tenth of a typical liquid crystal display panel, and consumed less than half the electricity needed for a 32-inch LCD screen.
Samsung SDI also said the lifespan of its display was 35,000 hours, the best performance among existing AM-OLEDs.
While small AM-OLED displays are already in use on premium mobile phones and media players, large-sized models are particularly difficult and costly to make. Shipments of Sony's 11-inch OLED TVs have been limited to 2,000 units per month.
Earlier this month, Japan's Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it had shelved plans to sell AM-OLED TVs in 2009-10 because of the cost of mass production.
(Reporting by Marie-France Han; Editing by Sei Chong)