Who wouldn’t want an OLED screen in their digicam? Seriously, it would be like turning down a free hot dog from a dented, stainless steel cart on a NYC street corner; everyone wants a free tube steak and no one would turn it down. It’s because OLED screens offer better picture quality at a lower power consumption rate, which make them perfect for DSLRs. CNET nailed down Canon’s Chuck Westfall who revealed a bunch about the companies intentions to use the high quality screens sometime soon in its cameras.
Canon a few years ago demonstrated a 5D with an OLED (organic light-emitting display) screen. I just saw some cheap OLED keychain displays that cost $60 or so. What’s the timeframe for building OLEDs instead of LCDs in the cameras? It’s a much higher-quality image and I there might be battery advantages as well.
It is a higher-quality image, no question about it, and the power consumption is lower because of the design. It’s a very efficient design. Canon has been developing that technology for quite some time. We showed our prototype in 2005, and here we are four years later. I think the bulk of what’s been going on in that interim is perfecting that technology–not just in terms of performance but also in terms of manufacturing process. I can’t give you a timeline today, but we’re a whole lot closer now.
One of the things I could tell you about is that in 2008, we purchased a manufacturing facility for OLEDs, so in Japan, we’re creating the infrastructure to be able to bring this online. The issue for us is not just the perfection of the technology and lowering of the manufacturing costs, it’s also being able to generate the quantity of these devices to satisfy our needs across an entire range of consumer products. If you look at our global production, we have in somewhere in the vicinity of 25 million or so compact cameras every year, and it’s growing. Digital SLRs last year we did 4.4 million. And that’s just cameras. Then you could start talking about the Pixma inkjet printers–a great many of them have LCD displays.
The sooner the better, boys. Lets get these OLED cameras rolling.