updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed June 29, 2011
Hitachi may unite with Sony and Toshiba on LCDs
Hitachi has been asking to join the proposed Sony-Toshiba phone LCD alliance for what could make one of the larger mobile display makers, the Nikkei BP said Wednesday. The third entrant would join in making small- and mid-size LCDs. Terms of the deal weren't mentioned but could see a deal in July and the new venture go live before the end of the year.
Earlier rumors had the Japanese government possibly taking an active interest in the then two-company union with an estimated $1.2 billion stake.
The group could end up making many of the displays in Japanese phones but may be heavily influenced by Apple. Toshiba is rumored to be building a plant for 2012 iPhone LCDs and may be pushed to cooperate with other manufacturers to accommodate demand. A countering rumor has Sharp making iPhone displays, though this could involve a supplement to the main line and not a replacement.
Toshiba may be most relevant to Apple as it's designing ultra-dense mobile LCDs that would go beyond even what Apple offers in the Retina Display. Hitachi has its own Retina Display-like panel, though at 4.5 inches it's too large for Apple's current design.