Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corp and Panasonic Corp announced that they will commercialize their straight tube LED lamps that can replace fluorescent lamps.

According to a press release of Toshiba Lighting & Technology, the company plans to release two types of straight tube LED lamps whose brightnesses are equivalent to those of 20W and 40W fluorescent lamps, respectively, within 2010. Panasonic also intends to commercialize its straight tube LED lamps within 2010, according to a press release of the company and Panasonic Electric Works Co Ltd.

Though small and medium-sized Japanese manufacturers and Korean manufacturers have been selling straight tube LED lamps in the Japanese market, they have not been as well-known or widely used as LED light bulbs. The entry of the two major Japanese manufacturers to the market might spread the use of straight tube LED lamps and spur competition in the market.

There have been some problems with straight tube LED lamps. First, their compatibility with the sockets for fluorescent lamps is not high enough. Second, because they are heavier than straight tube fluorescent lamps, some people worry that some of them might drop from the sockets due to impact or vibration. Third, the luminous efficiencies of some straight tube LED lamps are even lower than those of straight tube fluorescent lamps.

On the other hand, there has been an increasing demand for replacing frequently-used straight tube fluorescent lamps with LED lamps.