Rival Japanese television makers Sony and Panasonic will reportedly announce a new partnership next week to mass produce OLED televisions, according to Reuters. The two companies hope to develop technology that will enable them to make OLED TVs more affordable — current models cost thousands of dollars. OLED panel technology, which Sony pioneered in 2007, provides users with improved picture quality as well as deeper color saturation with high contrast, and it allows vendors to make TVs as slim as 4 millimeters that consume less power than traditional LCD sets. In recent years, the Japanese television industry has lost ground due to increased competition from South Korean rivals LG and Samsung, however by combining their research and development resources, Sony and Panasonic are hoping to regain lost market share. More →
Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in talks to develop the technology needed to mass produce next-generation OLED televisions, according to Reuters. The two companies would be playing catch up to their South Korean rivals, Samsung and LG, both of which plan to market 55-inch OLED TVs later this year. “Overseas competitors have gotten a head start in this area and I feel like they’re stepping into this too late,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan. “There’s no question OLED TVs are going to be the mainstream. The issue is price and size of the displays.” OLED panel technology, which Sony pioneered in 2007, provides users with improved picture quality, deeper color saturation with high contrast, and allows vendors to make TVs as slim as 4 millimeters that consume less power than traditional LCD sets. There is a barrier, however: current OLED TVs are very expensive — Samsung’s upcoming 55-inch OLED TV will cost $9,000 when it launches in South Korea in the coming months. More →
NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor, NEC and Panasonic announced plans on Tuesday to establish a joint venture in which the firms hope to work together to create LTE and LTE Advanced products. The fabless JV will specifically focus on the development of “feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality” for LTE and LTE Advanced networks. Products developed by the companies will be sold globally. NTT DoCoMo will invest $5.8 million in the joint venture but it is unclear how much of an ownership stake it will have, or how much the other five companies plan to invest. They hope to have the partnership fully established by March of next year. NTT DoCoMo’s press release follows after the break. More →
Panasonic announced Friday that it intends to expand its smartphone business into Europe in March 2012, and it hopes the move will be a stepping stone into the global smartphone market. Panasonic didn’t name its first smartphone, but did say that it features an ultra-slim form factor with a 4.3-inch qHD OLED screen. The phone is also waterproof and dust-proof, and will be manufactured in one of Panasonic’s Malaysian factories. Panasonic hopes to sell 1.5 million smartphones in Europe next year, and by 2016 the company aims to be selling 15 million phones cell phones annually, 9 million of which it expects will be smartphones. Panasonic’s full press release follows after the break. More →
Panasonic’s line of Toughbook notebooks can handle a whole heap of abuse, and the company is now cleverly expanding into the tablet market with the same basic principles of durability and security. Panasonic on Monday unveiled its Toughpad family of Android-powered devices, with both 7 and 10-inch options. The first model, the Panasonic Toughpad A1, is a 10-inch tablet that features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, FIPS 140-X compliance, optional LTE or WiMAX connectivity, GPS, a drop rating of 4 feet and 10 hours of battery life. Panasonic’s tablets will also be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures and are resistant to dust and water, in addition to sporting anti-reflective and anti-glare displays. The first Toughpad, the 10-inch A1, will go on sale starting in Spring of 2012 for $1,299, and the 7-inch Toughbook B1 will go on sale later in 2012. Panasonic’s full press release can be found after the break.
NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC and Panasonic are discussing a joint venture with Samsung that could be created as early as next year, Reuters reported recently. The companies will develop new smartphone baseband chips in an attempt to compete directly with Qualcomm, which currently has an 80% grip on the baseband chip industry. NTT DoCoMo will be the majority owner in the Japan-based joint venture and the total investment is expected to be about $390 million. The joint venture will help each firm cut down procurement costs. Samsung has considered using the new chips in its future family of GALAXY-branded handsets, but the group will also sell the new chips to other smartphone manufacturers. NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung have not yet announced formal plans for the venture. More →
As Netflix continues to barrel into living rooms across the country, the thriving company announced new agreements Tuesday that will enable one-click access to its streaming video services on compatible partner devices. The new deal will place a dedicated Netflix button, complete with the Netflix logo, on remote controls that ship with various consumer electronics including Watch Instantly-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and set top boxes. Manufacturers on board include Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Dynex (Best Buy’s in-house brand), Haier, Memorex, Boxee, Iomega and Roku. The deal is big news for Netflix, and it stands to substantially increase brand visibility. Netflix claims that there are currently more than 250 devices on the market compatible with its streaming video service. Hit the break for Netflix’s full press release. More →
Here’s a bit of good news: Hulu has just announced that its Hulu Plus premium subscription service will shed $2 from its monthly price tag. As the press release reads: “The monthly price for Hulu Plus moving forward is just $7.99. Any current subscribers who joined during our preview period will receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price. This credit will automatically be applied to their next billing cycle.”
But the juice doesn’t stop there. Hulu has also announced the following promotions:
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
The release also notes that the service is launching on Roku today and will be coming to “Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player,” in the coming months. Updates to the Hulu Plus iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung, and PlayStation 3 players will be made available this week.
Anyone reconsidering Hulu Plus after the price drop? More →
Today, Panasonic announced that they will add Twitter to the list of built-in web entertainment technologies on their VIERA CAST enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players. The company already offers Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Fox Sports, Amazon Video-On-Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg, and weather services on VIERA televisions with the IPTV functionality built-in. Panasonic’s VP of corporate development had this to say:
Since we introduced Panasonic VIERA CAST IPTVs three years ago we have added more and more of the top entertainment and social networking sites in the world. The addition of Twitter to VIERA CAST further strengthens the interactive options Panasonic VIERA HDTV owners can now use to communicate with family and friends worldwide. Consumers with VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVS can now tweet on Twitter, video chat via Skype, share videos on YouTube and digital photos via Google Picasa right from the comfort of their living rooms.”
Maybe the future of HDTV isn’t in 3D and ridiculous refresh rates… maybe it’s applications? We’ve got the full press release for you after the break. Let us know if functionality like this is something that interests you, or if you think it is just something that will get in the way of your television-viewing enjoyment. More →
In a world where BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and webOS dominate the mobile OS space, it’s been tough for LiMo to get a little love. Sure Android and webOS are Linux-based, but it’s just not the same. In an interesting move, Panasonic and NEC have chosen to go with LiMo — unveiling nine new devices that will feature the open-source operating system. Japanese mobile carrier KDDI and touchscreen company Immersion Corp are teaming up for the project but LiMo is hoping to the move grabs the attention of larger manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung and LG. Good luck with that. With less costs involved in running open source systems it could be more enticing for manufacturers to look to LiMo in the future. The mobile OS space is already pretty cluttered however, so don’t expect LiMo to start popping up on anything relevant from amongst the big boys any time soon.
On Monday, April 20, Panasonic and NEC are expected to unveil nine devices that run on the Linux-powered LiMo operating system. While not much is known about the soon-to-be-announced devices at this time, proponents of open source operating systems will apparently have plenty of cause for celebration in 2009. Current members of the LiMo Foundation include Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, LG and Samsung, though the latter two have yet to unveil a single LiMo device to date. Still, the foundation does have an all-star line-up of carriers backing it up as NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have all announced they will be carrying LiMo devices at some point this year. While there might not be too much to account for at the moment, the LiMo picture is apparently about to get a whole lot clearer.
For those that are in a “rougher” industry than us, you might already be carrying a Panasonic Toughbook. If you are, you’ll know that the fully-ruggedized models are pretty huge. But if you don’t require maximum roughness, Panasonic has come to market with their lightest model yet, and we’re definitely intrigued. The new Toughbook F8 is the lightest 3G-ready notebook to hit the market, but that’s not the best part. The best part, if you’ve been keeping up with all things hip, is that the 3G option is actually Qualcomm’s Gobi chip. That makes it possible to practically use any carrier in the world. Got Verizon at home but frequently travel outside the country? You’re good to go. We’ve ever heard reports of people using both Verizon and AT&T domestically depending on where they are traveling. That’s pretty hot! Here are some of the specs from the new notebook:
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SP9300, 2.26 GHz (6MB L2 cache, 1066 MHz FSB)
- 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB
- 160GB HDD, shock-mounted
- Integrated DVD Multi Drive
- 14.1″ 1280 x 800 WXGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD
- TPM Security Chip, v1.2
- Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
- Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option)
- Dimensions: 9.9″(L) x 12.8″(W) x 1.0″/1.9″ front/rear (H) (without protrusion)
- Weight: Approximately 3.7 lbs
- Battery life: Approximately 6 hours
- Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
- Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR
- Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA)
Now if only their tablet was this small and light… we’d be all over that! You know, since we’re going to keep mocking our Dell Latitude XT for being a piece of crap. The Panasonic F8-series is set to hit in November for an estimated street price of $2,499.
Panasonic announced on Friday the 12MP Lumix DMC-G1, the world’s first camera based upon the new Micro Four Thirds standard. Announced in August by Olympus and Panasonic, the micro four thirds standard allows for reduced size and weight in both camera bodies and camera lenses by removing the mirror box from the lens design. Sacrificing a true to life optical viewfinder for a mirror-less Live View electronic viewfinder, the distance from the lens mount and the image sensor (flangeback distance) has been cut in half. The lens mount itself has also been decreased by 6mm. Smaller flangeback distance and smaller lens mount = Lighter cameras and smaller lenses. No more lugging around a 10lb gear bag as the new G1 weighs in at a mere 385 grams (0.85 lbs) and has shrunk 6-8mm in size; while still retaining the overall shape, feel, and performance of a heavier, full-bodied DSLR. Sweet! It is expected in the US in November 2008. The folks over at Imaging Resource got their hands on a pre-production model and have done a hands-on review. Click on the link to see how this new lightweight contender performs.