Sony reaffirms commitment to OLED as XEL-1 is withdrawn in Japan

Sony will continue to market the only commercial OLED TV in the Australian market despite the product being withdrawn from its native Japan. Furthermore, Sony Australia has confirmed it is still committed to OLED technology, even with the incredible interest currently surrounding 3D technology.

In a statement to Digital Retailer this morning, a Sony spokesperson confirmed the XEL-1 would be discontinued in Japan later this year.

“Sony will no longer ship the XEL-1 into the Japanese market after April 2010,” said the spokesperson, who continued to report that distribution would be continuing in several other markets. “Sales of XEL-1 in US, Latin America, Europe and Australia will continue as before.”

The XEL-1 was released in April 2009, and was marketed as the world’s first commercially available OLED TV. Unlike some so-called LED TVs, which are actually LCD screens with LED lighting, this panel was truly an organic light emitting diode screen, or OLED. Although it was only 11-inches across, the XEL-1 was released with an RRP of $6,999.

With CES 2010 dominated by 3D technology, and Sony launching its new Bravia range next week, we asked Sony what place OLED held in the company’s plans.

“The research and development of mid-large sized OLED panels will…continue to proceed. Sony’s development of OLED panel is making a steady progress. We are investigating its applications in various areas, not only TV, where we can deliver new lifestyle product concepts and applications that make full use of its unique characteristics such as slimness, superb picture quality and lightness.”

Sony has already released a series of MP3 Walkmans featuring OLED screens.

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