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Samsung, Freescale To Develop LED Technology

Austin, Texas — Samsung and Freescale Semiconductor have agreed to collaborate on the development of energy-saving LED technology, the companies said Wednesday.

“Freescale’s LED backlight driver technology is the industry’s most compact and integrated solution,” stated Arman Naghavi, Freescale’s analog, mixed signal and power division VP and general manager. “Our collaboration with Samsung on LED backlighting — clearly a disruptive technology — will help spur further innovation and growth in the LCD market.”

Freescale began sampling its LED display technology to Samsung in December 2007. In September 2008, Freescale introduced the first LED backlight product in its portfolio of standard power-management ICs. The white LED driver IC is designed for control of LED backlights in TVs, as well as in flat-panel monitors.

Freescale said it plans to announce additional LED backlighting solutions for LCD TVs, monitors and notebooks in the first half of next year. Also in 2009, the company intends to pursue the automotive, commercial and residential LED lighting markets, which are expected to eventually dwarf the LCD TV market.

LED technology offers many advantages over conventional CCFL lighting systems, which are widely used in conventional LCD displays. Conventional LCD TVs without LED backlight technology are major energy consumers within households. LED backlights with local dimming can help reduce power consumption by up to 60 percent and can enable manufacturers to adopt thinner, lighter form factors.

LED backlighting also enhances the user viewing experience, offers more flexible backlight architectures and enables thinner display designs. Additional benefits of LED backlighting over conventional CCFL technology include higher efficiency (more light at a given power), reduced power consumption, enhanced durability and up to 100 times better contrast ratios for clearer definition on screen.

LED technology is free from mercury, a substance known to be toxic to humans. Mercury is a key material in CCFL lighting systems, which are used in 99 percent of existing LCD TV displays. In Europe, the European Directive on the Restriction of Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electronic (RoHS) has mandated that manufacturers must move to mercury-free solutions.

Freescale Semiconductor designs and manufactures embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion.