Sharp Settles TECO Suit, Cross-Licenses with AUO

Sankyo Co., a subsidiary of TECO Electric & Machinery Co., has been suing Sharp for patent infringement concerning domestic sales of LCD TVs that were using AUO panels. Sharp settled with Sankyo/TECO and cross-licensed with AUO.

Sharp’s internal LCD capacity is not enough to fulfill all the demand from its Sharp TV BU. So, Sharp went looking for LCD merchants and found AUO to be suitable. My guess is that AUO’s LCD TV panel technology infringed on Sanky/TECO’s patents. The settlement of the lawsuit and cross-licensing with a supplier of LCD TV panels that are much needed to continue competing, is a plus plus for Sharp.

Source: Nikkei Electronics Asia

SVA-NEC Approved for US$300 Million Expansion

The National Development Regulatory Commission (NDRC) approved SVA-NEC’s US$300 million expansion plan to bolster its LCD production capacity from 396,000 units to 1.02 million. Shanghai SVA Photoelectron, a unit of SVA Group, will invest US$225 million into SVA-NEC and NEC will invest the rest.

SVA-NEC has so far concentrated on 15″, 17″ and some 19″ LCD monitor panel production. These commodity items have experienced excrutiating price erosion that has led to great set prices at retail. However, LCD panel makers are experiencing difficult times as price erosion has been much quicker than the decrease in cost of production.

Source: Forbes

IPS Alpha to Double Capacity of LCD TV Panels

In the earlier post about IPS Alpha’s capacity expansion the focus was on LCD monitor panels. Now it looks like their focus will be on LCD TV panels, and rightly so. LCD monitors are a maturing market and not much is going on except for the sizes getting bigger and wider. The LCD TV market has quite a bit left before it hits adolescence as LCD TV share of the entire TV pie is but a small portion today.

IPS Alpha’s production capacity of 32″ LCD TV panels will increase to 5 million by 2H’07 according to the company. IPS Alpha is based in the Chiba Prefecture, next to Tokyo.

Source: Bloomberg

Dell XPS M2010: 20″ Notebook PC

This is something that is contrary to what is Dell. Dell does not create new categories. Dell is not at the leading edge of design. Dell caters to the masses and not a niche market. Well, throw all that out because Dell has announced “The Showstopper”, a 20″ wide 1680 x 1050 pixel format ~20 lbs luggable notebook PC-like monster. The 20″ is most likely supplied by LG.Philips LCD. The specifications are pretty impressive:

Up to 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo CPU
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
Up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
ATI Mobility Radeon X1800 GPU w/256MB
Up to 240GB of HDD with optional RAID 0-1
8x DVD/CD optical drive

And then some. For full specifications, click here.

There are a couple problems here. 17″ notebook PCs have 1920 x 1200 as options. I would like to see that on the M2010 as well. 1680 x 1050 is not bad, but is not good enough on a 20″ notebook. Also, I think it might be possible to bring down the weight to a more reasonable 10-15lbs range. At close to 20lbs for everything this will require some strength. I was joking with a friend over lunch and I think only giants will consider this a notebook PC. All others will categorize this as “luggable”. You have to give some kudos to Dell for being so “out there” with the M2010.

IPS Alpha will Double LCD Monitor Panel Production

IPS stands for in-plane switching, a LCD technology that provides extra wide viewing angles, solid color reproduction and minimizes color shifts and different anglae… and a favorite of Apple and all those that require a high level of color fidelity on screens. Matsushita and Hitachi will purchase US$133 million stakes in IPS Alpha and expand its capacity. Half of the investment will go toward building a module assembly plant in the Czech Republic and the other half will go toward expanding LCD production capacity in Japan. Currently, the company’s LCD monitor panel production is 2.5 million units per year and the added capacity will bring that to 5 million units by 2008.

IPS Alpha is a joint venture among Hitachi, Toshiba and Matsushita with most of the display technology coming from Hitachi, a pioneer in IPS technology. The current leader in shipping IPS-based panels is LG.Philips LCD, based in South Korea. All of Apple’s LCD monitors are based on panels from LPL and are IPS.


BOE Cancels US$300 Million Share Issuance in Hong Kong

BOE is one of two China-based LCD suppliers. The other being a hybrid Chinese-Japanese SVA-NEC. BOE canceled its HK$2.5 billion (US$300 million) share issuance in Hong Kong. The cancelation was the result of a delay in its internal share holding reform. In a time when leaders in the industry are pouring billions to build G8 fabs, BOE must continue to get bigger or develop unique technology and stay small. The Japanese, aside from Sharp and IPS Alpha, have stayed small with highly developed technology. TMDisplay is a good example that recently developed a 11.1″ wide NBPC panel using a LED backlight and is being used in Sony’s ultra-portable TX series NBPCs.

Source: Shanghai Daily

Image source: CNET Asia

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 HD Camcorder

Sanyo: Everyone is moving toward HD. And many have been waiting a long time for an affordable HD camcorder. Sanyo’s Xacti VPC-HD1 is the world’s first solidstate HD camcorder and the company claims that it is the smallest and lightest HD camcorder on the market today. The VPC-HD1 captures 5MP still images and has an impressive 10x optical zoom and a maximum aperture of f3.5.

HD is recorded at 1280×720 pixel format and 30 fps in 16:9. All of these features are great, but let’s look at the little screen that comes with it, the 2.2″ OLED display should be very bright, colorful and thin. Most likely, it uses LTPS instead of a-Si with a pixel format of 176×220 and displayable colors of 262 thousand.

The only thing I don’t like about Sanyo is the Sanyo name. One more thing: that design is just to ergonomic. I like it more like a simple rectangle.

AUO, CPT and Prime View International Apply for China Investments

Getting closer to the customer is hitting a cord with Taiwan LCD suppliers. AUO, CPT and PVI are applying for approval to invest in China for LCD panel production. Now, PVI’s chairman, Scott Liu, said that production costs will be cheaper in China, but I disagree. The LCD manufacturing process requires very little in terms of human labor and is entirely done with advanced robots and machines. The last part of the process where the LCD becomes a module with all the connections attached and inserted into casing is very labor intensive. That’s why many LCD suppliers have built module factories in China to save on labor costs.

With China poised to become the largest economy in the world very soon, everyone is clamoring to have a manufacturing base there to tap into the hundreds of millions of potential customers that will be purchasing everything from mobile phones to large LCD TVs.

Source: DigiTimes

Gateway TA1: 14″ Wide Convertible Tablet Notebook PC

The TA1 has a 14″ touchscreen LCD with a pixel format of 1280 x 768 with a 15:9 aspect ratio. The 14″ LCD is rotatable. HP’s DV1000 14″ wide NBPC had the same panel format but the industry is moving toward 14.1″ wide with 1280 x 800 pixel format and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The main driving force of this trend is due to Dell’s incorporation of 14.1″ wide 1280 x 800 in its NBPCs.

Overall, tablet PCs whether in slab or convertible style is not capturing the dollars of PC users, primarily because most users opt to type rather than write. Although writing skills are more advanced in Asian countries, those in the US have poorer writing skills (in terms of calligraphy) making it extremely difficult for optical recognition systems to reach anywhere near 100% accuracy.

I’m actually a fan of convertible tablet PCs because of the versatility. When I am taking notes, I often myself needing to draw a diagram and it would be great if I could simply pull the stylus out and start drawing.

Source: DailyTech

Image source: Hugo Ortega

[tags]Gateway, Tablet PC, 14″, 1280 x 768[/tags]

BenQ 202W: 20″ Wide LCD Monitor

BenQ is claiming that its 20″ wide LCD monitor, the 202W, is the fastest 20″ monitor out there. It’s got standard specs like full 8-bit color generating 16.7 million colors, 600:1 CR and a 1680 x 1050 pixel format. It’s got a pretty sub-standard viewing angle at a limited 140/130 degrees (left-right/up-down). The response time is claimed to be 8ms. But it is not clear whether that’s simply rise time, fall time, rise-to-fall time, or gray-to-gray time. I checked LG.Philips LCD’s site for their 20″ wide panel (LM201W01) and it has a response time of 16ms. The viewing angle for this panel is 178/178 degrees, much better. So, assuming both are talking about the same response times, BenQ is twice as fast, and that’s pretty good. The fastest? Maybe, but definitely fast. It’s priced well at around $400, but Dell’s got that beat by around $50.

Source: AME Info

More info: BenQ