LG Display says its new screens will substantially reduce the thickness of laptops. The company is bringing Advanced In-Cell Touch technology to PC screens for the first time, and plans to produce them en masse beginning later this year. LG Display is also prepared to make more screens for small devices.
Traditional touch screens employ several layers, including the display itself and a sensor placed on top to enable touch functionality. LG Display's Advanced In-Cell Touch panel combines the display with the touch sensor, which the compay claims will make the display assembly much lighter and thinner.
By eliminating the second layer, LG Display's new panel is 1mm thinner than its previous generation screens -- a reduction of 25%. Moreover, the panel weighs 7.05 ounces (200 grams), which represents weight savings of 35%. These may not seem like massive improvements, but thickness and weight play a big role for many laptop purchasers who know they'll be hauling their gear all over the place.
In-cell touch technology has been around for several years and first debuted on smartphones, such as the 2012-era iPhone 5 and the new LG G4. LG says its new full HD LCD panel is the first such screen for notebook PCs.
Thickness and weight aren't the only two benefits of in-cell touch technology. Using fewer layers results in brighter, clearer screens with less reflection. It also improves how precisely the touch screen can be calibrated, and how well it tracks fingers when wet.
LG's notebook-making customers are highly interested. At least two have signed up for 15.6-inch and 14-inch panels, according to LG, and the company is holding discussions with numerous other OEMs.
Touch panels are already a part of our daily lives thanks to laptops, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and other devices. With Microsoft's planned release of Windows 10 later this month, laptop makers are revving up their hardware lines for the new operating system. LG Display's new panels are a compelling option for manufacturers to consider.
LG Display says a pen-compatible version of its Advanced In-Cell Touch screens is under development. Pen compatibility is particularly important for owners of two-in-one PCs, which often allow owners to write directly on the screen. LG Display didn't say when the pen-enabled AIT panel will reach production.
Apple is one of LG Display's biggest customers. Many of Apple's most iconic products, including the iPhone and iPad, use screens from LG Display.
LG Display is also looking to boost its small screen-making capabilities. In particular, the company may invest up to $803 million to build a new production line for flexible small and medium OLED screens. Such displays are generally reserved for wearables and smartphones. The LG G Watch, for example, uses a plastic OLED panel. The plant will be located in the company's home country of South Korea.