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Sonyonic: rivals Sony & Panasonic unite to develop affordable OLED TV sets

Japanese rivals Sony and Panasonic are teaming up to build the next generation of affordable televisions.

The technology giants plan to jointly develop organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels and modules - a lower-cost production option - for televisions and other large-screen displays. Sony and Panasonic will exercise each of their OLED core technologies to develop the panels.

In a joint statement Monday, the companies announced that they are aiming for mass production by 2013, using Panasonic's printing-based OLED technologies.

Sony and Panasonic have seen big losses recently, and today's announcement is an effort to play catch up with Samsung, which has taken the lead, according to popular American newspaper USA Today.

At CES in January, Samsung unveiled its 55in Super OLED HDTV, shortly after LG did the same. Sony, however, used the trade show to show off crystal LED HDTVs. The new, self-emitting crystal LED technology is similar to OLED in that it doesn't require a backlight, but the technology is entirely new. The prototype on the show floor used 6 million LEDs mounted on the front of the display, providing a wider colour gamut and faster response times.

Panasonic took a hit last April when it laid off 17,000 employees in an effort to cut costs and adapt to the changing market.

"In parallel with the joint of the next-generation technologies of the OLED panels and modules, Sony and Panasonic plan to continue to study collaboration in the mass production of OLED panels and modules," the companies said in a statement.

While the TV screens will be developed together, Sony and Panasonic are expected to sell the sets separately under both brands, The Verge reported.

In 2007, Sony launched the world's first OLED TV, an 11in model that was followed in 2011 by a 25in professional OLED monitor.