Business News | Mar 27, 2007

Konica and GE to jointly develop OLED lights

Japan`s Konica Minolta Holdings said on Tuesday it has tied up with General Electric Co. to jointly develop flexible and thin lighting products using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology.

Shares of Konica Minolta were up 1.6 percent at 1,565 yen as of 0053 GMT, the biggest positive contributor to the benchmark Nikkei average, which was down 0.6 percent. OLED has primarily been seen as a promising technology for next-generation flat panel displays because OLED screens can produce bright, colourful images visible from a wide viewing angle without consuming a lot of power. But Konica Minolta has been striving to develop an OLED device to tap the lighting equipment market, which is expected to continue growing steadily and reach $92 billion in 2010, according to research firm the Freedonia Group. Konica Minolta said it would aim to release a product within three years, most likely using the GE brand, a global leader along with European lighting makers Philips Electronics and Siemens-owned Osram

Last year Konica Minolta made headlines by announcing it had developed an OLED device that could emit white light at 64 lumens per watt and last 10,000 hours before the brightness level was down by half, roughly on a par with conventional fluorescent lights. Tokyo-based Konica Minotla has annual sales of about 1 trillion yen ($8.47 billion), most of which come from copiers, printers, medical equipment, optical devices and a film used to enhance picture quality in liquid crystal displays.

OLEDs are typically built on glass but can also be made on flexible substrates to allow for bendable lighting. Company spokeswoman Yuko Ogiso said Konica and GE would develop devices that are thin and can be bent to fit curved surfaces, aiming to offer a new category of lighting while cultivating the business into a new driver of earnings growth. Ogiso said the company did not have any concrete profit or sales forecasts for the OLED business.

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