Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has developed a new LCD (liquid crystal display) technology that builds a touch screen into the display, a development that could lead to thinner and cheaper display panels for mobile phones, the company said Tuesday.
At present, smart phones and PDAs have a separate touch screen panel attached on top of the LCD. The new technology uses optical sensors that measure the various light volumes coming into the panel when objects touch the panel surface, then convert that light into electrical signals for recognition.
Future cell phones can be made about 25 percent thinner using the touchscreen technology, said Cho Sung-In, a company spokeswoman. Samsung is not disclosing how much the technology reduces costs.
"Yields are better because you are not adding another panel on top, so there is no problem with dust or air bubbles," she said. Volume production will begin in the second half of 2005.
Samsung is successfully pushing toward ever-lighter and smaller handsets, and the technology could soon be employed in the company's higher-end handsets, said Michito Kimura, a senior analyst at IDC Japan.
"This new screen technology fits in with Samsung's strategy of making smaller and lighter phones. But the technology may not be incorporated for a little while yet," Kimura said.
Samsung also announced Monday that it had developed 17-inch and 21-inch LED (light-emitting diode) backlights for LCD monitors, a one-piece 2.32-inch touch screen panel for mobile LCDs, and a 46-inch portrait LCD panel.
The company said the new LED backlights greatly improve brightness, color saturation, stability and screen compactness. It also said its 21.3-inch LED backlight for LCD monitors is about half as thick as other models of its size, while the 17-inch version delivers brightness of up to 500 candelas per square meter (nits) compared to other models that average 250 nits. The color saturation level is at almost 92 percent, meaning that the colors are closer to appearing natural, the company said.
Last week in Tokyo, Sony Corp. announced that it had fitted the LEDs to its 46-inch Qualia 005 TV, which the company claimed was the first LCD TV in the world to use LEDs in this way. As with Samsung, Sony says the technology helps TVs deliver a superior picture with truer and richer colors.
Cho said that Samsung is considering applying the LED technology to TVs.
Lastly, the company also showed a 2.6-inch VGA (300 pixels per inch) amorphous silicon LCD that it said enables users of mobile products to receive the same resolution as notebook PC screens.
The technologies were first shown at the International Display Research Conference (Asia Display 2004) and the 4th International Meeting on Information Display (IMID 2004) that are being held in Daegu, South Korea, from Aug. 23 to Aug. 27.
IDC Japan is owned by International Data Group, the parent of IDG News Service.