Toshiba, Samsung, Optrex to Develop Cellphone LCDs

TOKYO (04/13/2000) - Two of Asia's largest electronics manufacturers are tying up with a leading producer of LCD (liquid crystal display) driver chips to develop display chips for next-generation cellular telephones, the three companies announced today.

The deal brings together Japan's Toshiba Corp., South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Optrex Corp., a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Asahi Glass Co. Ltd.

Development work, which a Toshiba spokesman said has already begun, is focused on driver LSI (large-scale integration) chips for color super twisted nematic (STN) LCDs for mobile products and, in particular, next-generation cellular phones, the three companies said in a statement.

The increasing popularity of Internet-capable cellular telephones is largely behind the tie-up, said the partners. With the launch just over a year ago of the i-mode service by NTT DoCoMo Inc., handset manufacturers have been demanding large LCD screens with features like color while at the same time looking to reduce the power consumed by the units.

By working together, the three companies hope to pool their respective expertise and develop more quickly driver chips for next generation cellphones and other portable multimedia devices.

Optrex brings to the partnership general LCD driver know-how and its low-power Multi-Line Addressing (MLA) technology; Samsung will contribute a segment driver LSI incorporating SRAM memory; and Toshiba will contribute its common driver technology for LCD panels.

Volume production of 500,000 chips per month is expected to begin in September.

Toshiba, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/. Optrex, also in Tokyo, is online at http://www.optrex.co.jp/ and Samsung Electronics, in Seoul, can be found on the Web at http://www.samsungelectronics.com/.

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