Open-Cell DigiTimes is reporting that according to Jyh-chau Wang, president of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), the company is selling more and more open-cell TFT LCD panels. Open-cell panels are LCD panels that have not yet been assembled into a module. The modularization process is very labor-intensive and is usually completed in a LCD module factory located in China. More than 10% of LCD monitor panel are being sold as open-cell panels. For LCD TV applications the share of open-cell panels is even higher at 15%. LCD panels for notebook PC applications are not available as an open-cell. The main advantage of selling open-cell LCD panels is that the LCD manufacturer will not need to increase its LCD module capacity in response to an increase in demand for LCD panels. The main disadvantage is that open-cell LCD panels are cheaper than those that have been modularized.
Customization There might be a shift from commodity LCD modules to customized versions. A brand such as Sony might want to purchase open-cell LCD panels to integrate it into a unique LCD TV design that is designed so that the chassis itself becomes the module for the LCD panel. This can allow for more creative designs and can ultimately get rid of the fat bezels that are common. An open-cell LCD panel might lead to LCDs that are flush with the rest of the set instead of having an indentation. I personally dislike cover glasses like the ones you see on the iPhones, iMacs and MacBook Pros because dust eventually get stuck to behind the glass in between it and the LCD. With a flush LCD, you wouldn’t need a cover glass. With a hardened film solution to improve ruggedness the flush-integrated LCD will look great and be durable. One recent example that got me excited about this possibility is Canon’s new 7D that makes use of a flush LCD that looks absolutely fantastic!