Remember that gal in high school who never met a club she didn't like? She joined the glee club and the drama club. She was on the yearbook staff and reported for the school paper. All the while playing soccer and field hockey and still making honor roll. What was her name? Oh yeah: Toshiba (OTC BB: TOSBF).
Barely three weeks have elapsed since Toshiba announced it was allying with Hitachi Ltd.
According to the companies' joint press release, effective in October, Canon and Toshiba will form a joint venture to develop, produce, and sell a new kind of flat screen TV. (Hey, stop! I still can't afford the old LCD technology, and already you're telling me it's obsolete!?)
Apparently so. The latest in super-high tech (read: lots of zeros on the price tag) tele-viewing pleasure is called an "SED," or "Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display." Whatever that means on the inside, on the outside it refers to a panel TV that will be just a few inches thick, like an LCD or plasma TV, but that will (1) use just a fraction of the power required to operate an LCD or plasma and (2) produce displays that have the same brightness and color of a standard 75-lb. cathode ray tube set.
So far, the SED technology has not been "commercialized." But Canon's been working on it for close to two decades now, and for the past five years has been talking with Toshiba about setting up a company to make some money off of it. The new joint venture, which will be owned 50-50 by the two companies, has ambitious plans for the future. Canon, which to date has sold not a single flat panel TV, says it aims to control 20%-30% market share by 2010. To make that boast come true, this new SED technology will have to be pretty impressive -- to go from nothing to owning one-fourth of the TV-making universe, all the while competing against LCD and plasma technology that has several years' head start.
Can Canon do it, even with Toshiba's help? Stay tuned to the Fool to find out.
For ancient Foolish news on the apparently already obsolete LCD/plasma industry, read:
- The Flat Panel War Widens
- Monitoring Flattened Screen Sales
- Philips' Future Gets Smudged
- Corning Comes Through
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.
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