updated 10:25 am EDT, Thu April 3, 2008
Panasonic Plasma Cellphone
(Update: AbleComm claims fake) Panasonic today revealed that it had developed a new version of its plasma technology that it says will prove a rival to OLEDs and other new displays in handheld devices. Made largely with help from AbleComm, the new technique overcomes the normally high power draw of plasmas and allows for a cellphone-sized display that consumes just 1.5 volts of power and is at least as thin and light as most other portable screens, making it suitable for watching videos on cellphones where ghosting and other effects can affect some LCDs.
The advance reportedly provides much richer color and contrast ratios than most LCDs at the same size while remaining about as thin as an OLED; it also costs much less than OLEDs, the company claims, making it more practical to implement in the short term.
The first actual use of small plasma displays is expected to be an unnamed Panasonic cellphone that will be teamed up with AT&T's recently unveiled Mobile TV service. The Japanese company adds that it will extend the technology to other phones as well as portable media players and touchscreen devices. Panasonic also doesn't intend to use the technology exclusively and will see plasma displays in HP printers and the products of other companies, although no one else has been named.
The Panasonic mobile TV phone represents the company's return to the US market in earnest after a long absence and marks a break from the practices of most Japanese cellphone makers, who with the exception of Sanyo often refrain from competing in the Western cellphone industry.