Sat, May 26, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Chi Mei, Kodak ink deal to make slimmer screens

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (CMO, 奇美電子), the nation's second-biggest flat-panel maker, and its LCD manufacturing affiliate have inked a cross-licensing deal with Eastman Kodak Co to make slimmer and power-saving screens for electronic devices such as mobile phones.

Cooperating with Kodak, "CMO and Chi Mei EL Corp [CMEL, 奇晶光電] hope to quickly move its OLED technology developments to the mature mass production stage," Wu Biing-seng (吳柄昇), a Chi Mei vice president, said in a statement released on Thursday.

CMEL, a fully-owned affiliate of Chi Mei that was established in 2004, makes flat panels using organic light emitting diode technology (OLED). Chi Mei makes thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) computer and TV panels.

Chi Mei shares dropped 0.53 percent to NT$37.6 yesterday, better than the 0.69 percent loss of the benchmark TAIEX index. The stocks of bigger rival AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) slid 0.38 percent.

Under the agreement, CMEL will be allowed to use patents held by Kodak on Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) technologies to make slim screens for use in mobile phones, digital cameras and other portable devices.

AMOLED displays several benefits over conventional displays such as higher contrast, faster response time, blur-free video motion, 180-degree viewing angle, thinner design and potentially lower manufacturing costs.

AMOLED displays will become one of the fastest growing segments in LCD industry as sales are expected to grow six fold to US$1.4 billion next year from US$200 million this year, market researcher DisplaySearch said, as more applications hit the market.

A big chunk, about 90 percent, of AMOLED displays are used for handsets, according to the Texas-based researcher.

"As AMOLED is much slimmer [than displays such as TFT-LCD screens], they are increasingly used for high-end and ultra-slim mobile phones," DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh (謝勤益) said.

Start-up CMEL ramped up its first production line in the first quarter of this year. The company makes AMOLED 2-inch and 2.8-inch panels, mostly for portable devices.

It hopes to make bigger panels in the future.

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