Endicott Research Smart Force LED Drivers

On February 12, Endicott Research Group (ERG), a manufacturer of DC-AC inverters based in Endicott, NY, introduced its new Smart Force family of LED driver solutions for high-bright LEDs used in LCD backlighting applications. The company can provide just the LED driver board or a complete kid that includes the driver board and LED rails. The high-bright LED drivers can be used in applications ranging in size from 6.4″ to 20″ and larger. ERG’s driver boards use a DC-DC boost to provide voltage to a constant current driver and LED rail and can be designed with input voltages ranging from 5V to 48V.

Source: Endicott Research Group

LG.Philips LCD to Increase Capacity

On February 11, LG.Philips LCD (LPL) announced that it plans to increase the capacity of its G7 fab, called P7 and located in Paju, South Korea, from 90,000 glass substrate per month input capacity to 110,000 by the third quarter of 2007. LPL’s P7 is able to handle glass substrates with a dimension of 1950 x 2250mm. LPL will spend about 200 billion KRW (about US$213 million) for its capacity expansion. It was expected that LPL’s P7 would increase its capacity to around the 110K – 120K level, but the increase is coming slightly faster than expected and will impact the supply and demand balance in the LCD industry. With the additional capacity, the shift is toward a slight oversupply in the second half of 2007. The main sizes manufactured in P7 will be 42″ and 47″ LCD TVs and will most likely reduce LCD panel prices for these sizes. A reduction in panel prices for 42″ and 47″ LCD TV LCDs will allow for more competition in this space with the main competition coming from S-LCD with its 40″ and 46″ sizes. Also there is the possiblity of LPL using its P7 line to compete indirectly with Samsung and Sharp’s G8 lines that are focused on manufacturing 50″-class LCD TV panels. LPL’s capacity expansion decision will also put more pressure on plasma display panel (PDP) manufacturers that are producing 40″-class PDPs and make it increasingly difficult to compete in the 40″ space.

Source: Forbes, Infoworld, The Brunei Times, BusinessWire, LG.Philips LCD

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Onkyo BR-NX10: Stereo System with LCD

Okyo’s BR-NX10 is a very nice-looking stereo system that sports some very unique features. First, the BR-NX10 has a 80GB hard disk that allows you to rip your CDs. Second, it has a LCD display and an Ethernet port for connecting to the Internet surfing on AnyMusic and purchasing songs online.

It also has a USB port for PC connections or USB flash drives to grab MP3 and WMA music files. Onkyo’s Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC) audio system makes the sound crystal clear. And for all of this you’ll be paying E600 (about US$780). I really like how the BR-NX10 is designed. Onkyo did a great job integrating all of that technology into a simple and sexy design. I wonder if someone can develop a hack so the BR-NX10 can work with iTunes. Just wondering…

Source: Akihabara News

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Virgin America Airbus A320: RED Computer System

Virgin America will be entering the US market with an Airbus A320, but with an inflight entertainment, more accurately, multimedia computer and service system called RED. The US Dept. of Transportation has not cleared Virgin America for commercial flights just yet, but when it does this A320 will be, in my opinion, the best to fly in. Virgin America’s RED include movies on demand, pervasive music playlists, in-seat messaging with a QWERTY controller, touchscreen Linux consoles with games, food ordering system, and more. In the “belly” of the Airbus A320 are three servers that communicate with RED in-seat consoles and satellite connection. There are also WiFi-enabled flight attendant handhelds!

The display is a 9″ touchscreen LCD with a 1024 x 600 pixel format. The OS is Linux and Virgin custom created all the applications. For ground communications VA is using Sprint’s EV-DO uplink. Emails and SMS messages can be sent from your seat consoles by way of the USB joypad QWERTY keyboard. Interesting information abound as well as a video and you can find it all at Engadget.

Asus U1F: 11.1″ Ultra Portable Notebook with LED

Asus’ U1F is a 11.1″ wide ultra-portable notebook PC that sports a LED backlight to reduce the thickness of the LCD to just 5mm. The entire U1F thickness is just 18mm or 0.7″ and has the thickest part at 1.1″. The U1F has an Intel Core Duo U2400 CPU with an integrated Intel 945GM Express chipset and an Intel a/b/g WiFi. Hard drives come in 40 or 80GB. Ther e is also an integrated VGA (640 x 480) webcam. Connectivity optioins includes gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP. With a magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber body and a 3-cell battery, the U1F weighs just 2.2 lbs.

LED backlights will be featured more prominently in notebook PCs coming to a store near you in 2007. One of the main benefits to LEDs compared to CCFLs is power consumption. LED sips less power than CCFLs but only at brightness that typical notebook PCs require when on battery power. That brightness level is just around 100 cd/m2 and sometimes lower. Since LEDs are solid-state the durability enhancement is also added, but without any improvements on the glass itself in the LCD, the overall LCD will have about the same durability as a CCFL-based LCD. Though some might state that colors are improved, unfortunately that is not the case. The reason for the non-improvement is because of the type of LEDs used in notebook PC applications. The LED is composed of a blue LED chip and a yellow phosphor coated package. With this combination, white light is created. But color gamut is not enhanced. Actually, without redeveloping color filters to match the light wavelengths corresponding to red, green and blue that the LEDs generate, the color gamut is slightly worse.

Source: Engadget

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Asus LCD Monitor Vista Ready

Asustek announced Vista certification for its 22″ MW221U and 20″ MW201U LCD monitors. The Vista certification means that features such as Windows Sidebar are supported and compatible. Both displays support a native resolution of 1680 x 1050, good for the 20″ MW201U, but a tad bit on the low side for the 22″ MW221U since a 23″ LCD monitor would give you quite a bit more at 1920 x 1200.

With Asus’ Trace Free technology, response times are fast at only 2ms. Both LCDs include Asus’ Splendid Video Intelligence technology to improve image quality and color fidelity and sport a HDCP-enabled DVI-D connection, a VGA D-Sub connector. Both have a pair of 1W speakers, and include a cable management system in the base.

I am not sure if Vista certification is that necessary for LCD monitors. In my opinion, as long as the LCD monitor is wide and has at least a 1440 x 900 pixels, it should work quite well with Vista. Of course, a 1920 x 1200 pixel format would be ideal, but that might bring up the entire Vista upgrade cost by quite a bit. A dual 17″ LCD monitor might do well, though I would assume you’d need some type of software application to make the two into a single seamless desktop.

Source: DigiTimes

[tags]Asus, LCD Monitor, 1920 x 1200, Vista, 17″, 1440 x 900, HDCP, 1680 x 1050, 22″, MW221U, 20″, MW201U[/tags]

Kolin and Syntax-Brillian Target European LCD TV Market

Kolin Group Inc. will contract First International Computer Inc. to supply LCD TVs. Kolin plans to deliver 100,000 LCD TVs to the European market with Germany, Britain, and France as main targets. The brand Syntax-Brillian will be tapped in the second half of 2007 to materialize these plans. Kolin shipped a total of 600,000 LCD TVs in 2006 and the company expects to double shipments to 1.2 million units in 2007. The two companies, Kolin and Syntax-Brillian, plan to penetrate the European market with the 32″ and 42″ LCD TVs through Vivitar, a local brand acquired by Syntax-Brillian. For its up-coming 65″ LCD TV, panels will be sourced from Sharp, which makes Kolin the first Taiwanese LCD TV manufacturer to acquire 65″ LCD panels from Sharp. Source: CENS

Sony on Dell

Dell has added Sony’s TVs to its online store. I grabbed a banner off of Dell’s site and it is pretty clear: Sony is available. And Dell isn’t stopping there. The company is planning to offer more brands in the future focusing on consumer and small-business markets. This was all made public during Thursday’s (February 8, 2007) announcement. One downside was the suspension of bonuses for all employees due to Dell’s poor financial performance laid out in a memo from Michael Dell, who took over the reigns from former CEO Kevin Rollins. In that memo, Dell wrote that he would be CEO of Dell for the next several years.

What this move tells me is that Dell is moving its store toward more of an Amazon.com model rather than an Apple Store.com model. The Amazon example would be to be an online store destination that sells everything but in Dell’s case it would be computers and consumer electronics goodies. I think Dell can very well be that destination. But, I think the Apple Store idea is a better one for most branded companies that have an online store. I know when I go to Apple’s online store that I will be getting a good deal of information about Apple-related stuff, especially complementary peripherals to products such as an iPod. Apple’s store continues have focus. Dell is shifting its focus to, well, everything.

Source: InformationWeek

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Amtran 60″ Plasma TV: Vizio in the US

Amtran Technology introduced a 60″ plasma display panel (PDP) TV and is expected to ship 1000 units soon. The 60″ PDP TV sports a pixel format of 1366 x 768 (kind of low), a brightness of 1200 nits and a contrast ratio of 7000:1. Amtran’s 60″ also has four HDMI inputs (quite a bit!) and is available for just $2999.99 in North America as a Vizio. Vizio’s 47″ LCD TV shipments were north of 20,000 units since the fourth quarter of 2006. Source: Witsview

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Ulvac Expands Manufacturing in Taiwan

Ulvac Taiwan Manufacturing (UTMC) and Ultra Clean Precision Technologies (UCPT) are both part of Ulvac, a Japan-based equipment manufacturer. UTMC and UCPT announced on February 8 that their LCD equipment operations commenced. Ulvac decided to expand its investment in Taiwan at the Tainan Science Park by setting up a flat panel display (FPD) equipment manufacturing facility and a customer service base. Ulvac began investing its investments in Taiwan in the third quarter of 2006. UMTC will focus on manufacturing FPD equipment for large-area LCD displays and will import the technology from Japan. On the other hand, UCPT will focus on customer service such as equipment maintenance. Even though LCD manufacturers are slowing their investments toward increasing manufacturing capacities, Ulvac has decided to enter the Taiwan market and increase its investments there.

Source: DigiTimes