LG Display To Invest KRW1 Trillion To Expand LCD Module Production

LG Display (LGD) plans to invest KRW1 trillion to expand its LCD module production capability in the next three years from 2010 to 2013. What particular LCD modules? Tablet PC panels and OLED products. LGD will need it since it is the primary supplier for Apple’s iPad. Maybe LGD will be making OLED panels for Apple in the near future? Source: etnews.co.kr via Digitimes

HP EliteBook 8740w: 17-inch Fermi Quadro 5000M GPU Notebook PC

HP: The Fermi-based Quadro 5000M GPU has been stuffed into HP’s EliteBook 8740w, a very expensive 17-inch notebook PC that starts at US$2,676. The Quadro 5000M sports 2GB of VRAM and 320 CUDA cores. The 8740w can be maxed out with 16GB of RAM and Intel’s Core i7 Extreme Edition, internally. Externally the crazy mobile box is ruggedized and isn’t phased by vibration, dust, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures. You need to render the next Avatar in extreme conditions? The HP EliteBook 8740w might be the best notebook PC available. Unless…

Unless you need you need pixels. HP decides to use acronyms that don’t mean much of anything. What is WXGA+? I’m guessing it is 1440×900. And if it is the EliteBook 8740w isn’t elite at all. The pixel format isn’t even 1680×1050 let alone 1920×1080 or even 1920×1200. You need the 8740w to render? It’s got the power but the display is not up to the task, at all.

Acer S211HL: 21.5-inch LED-Backlit 1080p LCD Monitor

Acer has pumped out its S211HL, a 21.5-inch LCD monitor sporting a 1920×1080 pixel format and a LED backlight. A dynamic contrast ratio is spec’ed at 12,000,000:1, which is absolutely ridiculous. This stat doesn’t matter at all. The stats that matter: 5ms response time, 250 cd/m2 of brightness, 8-bit color (16.7 million total available colors) and three connections: VGA, DVI, HDMI. There is the smaller S201HL (20 inch) and the larger S231HL (23 inch). The S231HL also sports a pixel format of 1920×1080 but why spend $50 more for the same number of pixels. The S211HL, the better value, is US$219.99.

The external design is simple and I like it, but I’m not liking the stand: what is it good for? Rotating? No. Height adjustment? No. Tilt maybe. via Engadget

Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display: 2560×1440 IPS LCD LED Backlight

On July 27, 2010 Apple unveiled its new 27-inch LED Cinema Display (press release). The 27-inch LCD is of the IPS (In-Plane Switching) variety featuring a wide 178-degree viewing angle. The pixel format is 2560×1440 making it a 16:9 display, probably the same found on the 27-inch iMac. Of course, as the name suggests, the backlight is of the LED variety that should provide instant-on capabilities.

FAT BEZEL: The industrial design remain unchanged from the smaller 24-inch LED Cinema Display sporting rather thick black bezels. LG Display (LGD) is likely the display supplier for the 27-inch LED Cinema Display and the same company supplies LG Electronics (LGE) the amazing LED-backlit LCD panels for the Infinia LX9500 LCD TV. The Infinia LX9500 sports the thinnest bezels I’ve ever seen. Looking at displays with fat bezels (except for the iPad since it has a functional purpose) degrade their premium feel. Would it be rocket science to incorporate the thin bezel technology into the 27-inch LCD? Maybe Apple is working with LGD to incorporate an incredibly thin bezel in the next version.

AIR GAP: There seems to remain an air gap between the LCD and the cover glass, which is most likely Corning’s Gorilla glass. That air gap will allow dust particles to wander in resulting in a most frustrating experience once you’ve noticed them. Like the iPhone 4 I would hope Apple would make use of optical lamination to remove this possible annoyance.

MAGSAFE OPTIONAL? iSight is built-in along with a microphone, speakers, and a USB 2.0 hub (3 connectors). There is also a MagSafe connector to keep MacBooks charged. Although MacBook (and Pro) users would appreciate the MagSafe connector non-MacBook users might not want to pay extra for something they will not use. There must be a way to make the MagSafe connector an option and bring down the overall price of the already competitive 27-inch LED Cinema Display even further.

MANUAL BRIGHTNESS: Connectivity is via Mini DisplayPort, which I think is not becoming quite the standard Apple hoped it would be. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness, a feature that my eyes really don’t like as the modulating brightness levels force my eyes to adjust not only to the environment but also to the display. I’m sure there is an option to turn it off.

TERRIFIC PRICE: I wanted to write: “A major downside is the lack of pivot capabilities. For that you’ll need to get a third-party mount.” But upon thinking about it, I don’t think many folks would want to pivot a 27-inch display: there are plenty of vertical pixels (1440) to work on most documents. The 27-inch LED Cinema Display is US$999. You have until September to get funds ready.

ONE MONITOR: The 24-inch LED Cinema Display is now priced $799, originally $899. The 30-inch Cinema HD Display price is unchanged at $1799. Both are available only while supplies last. I don’t think most folks would want to pay $800 extra for three additional inches and 160 additional vertical pixels. Although there is one thing going for the 30-inch that I really appreciate: a non-glossy matte display.

The IPS LCD Monitor database has been updated. Note: IPS LCD Monitor is no longer being updated.

AnandTech Thoroughly Reviews Motorola Droid X

The entire article titled “Motorola Droid X: Thoroughly Reviewed” is a must-read if you want to know the ins and outs of the Droid X in great detail. Here I will focus on what Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi found out about the display.

The Droid X makes use of a rather large 4.3-inch TFT LCD with a 854×480 pixel format. The aspect ratio is 16:9 and the same pixel format is used on the original Droid and the Motoroi.

White display brightness in nits (cd/m2):

iPhone 4: 571
iPhone 3GS: 469
Motorola Droid X: 440
Motorola Droid: 427
HTC EVO 4G: 357
Nokia N900: 257
Nexus One: 234
HTC Droid Incredible: 204

Higher is better and the Droid X in this bunch comes at #3. High brightness helps when looking at the display out in the sun.

Black display brightness in nits (cd/m2):

iPhone 3GS: 2.5
Nokia N900: 0.74
HTC EVO 4G: 0.64
iPhone 4: 0.6
Motorola Droid X: 0.5
Motorola Droid: 0.3
Nexus One: 0
HTC Droid Incredible: 0

Lower is better. Both the Nexus One and HTC Droid Incredible is 0 because they use an OLED panel, which is an emissive display technology. When it is black there is zero light coming out. Both the Droid X and the original Droid do extremely well for a LCD.

Display contrast:

Motorola Droid: 1418
iPhone 4: 952
Motorola Droid X: 873
HTC EVO 4G: 557
Nokia N900: 349
iPhone 3GS: 188

Higher is better. I am not sure why there is such a big difference between the Droid X and the original Droid, but it may have something to do with a bit more light leaking out (black display brightness) on the Droid X compared to the Droid. A higher screen reflectance on the Droid X, which wasn’t measured, might be a potential answer to the big difference.

Contrast can be enhanced two ways. Assuming black levels stay the same the display brightness can be improved. There are a few ways to accomplish higher brightness including better light transparency or simply a more powerful backlight. The other method of improving overall contrast is to minimize light leakage and lowering black brightness levels.

White iPhone 4 Delayed Again: Probably Not Redesigning Antenna

Apple’s statement on the white iPhone 4 released on July 23rd:

White models of Apple’s new iPhone® 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Kevin Tofel in Apple’s White iPhone Delay a Chance for Antenna Redesign:

If anything, I suspect that Apple is tweaking the antenna design or finding some non-bumper solution to improve the device signal in areas of marginal coverage.

I don’t think so. If Apple did introduce an antenna-modified white iPhone 4 that would undermine everything the company has attempted to do so far regarding “antennagate.” According to Apple the external antenna design is an overall improvement from that of previous iPhones. Unfortunately, because of the external design signal attenuation when held can be more dramatic than internal antenna designs. There is nothing inherently flawed about the design according to Apple as the entire smartphone industry is finding ways to overcome this challenge. Apple has even created a page titled “Smartphone Antenna Performance” to showcase signal attenuation on the BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris*, Motorola Droid X, Nokia N97 mini, Samsung Omnia II and even the iPhone 3GS.

If Apple were to redesign the antenna on the white iPhone 4 there would be black iPhone 4 users demanding a full refund regardless of when they purchased it because they were sold a defective product. That would be a PR nightmare. The free Bumper program wasn’t pleasant for Apple either.

Engadget’s Richard Lai in “White iPhone 4 delay: the challenges faced by Apple’s glass supplier” suggests:

… the factory’s still working out the perfect combination of paint thickness and opacity — the former to ensure the next sub-contractor has enough clearance for the digitizer overlay, and the latter for the absolute whiteness that Jony Ive and co. strive for.

I think Lai’s thinking is closer to the truth. The reason why the white in the white iPhone 4 needs to be much better than previous white iPhones is simply because expectations are stratospheric.

* One thing that struck me about the location of the antennas was that all of them were located on the bottom of the smartphone. Except for one: HTC Droid Eris. I wouldn’t want to hold up the HTC Droid Eris to my head and have a long conversation.

LG Display Second Quarter 2010 Results

LG Display (LGD) reported its second quarter 2010 results on July 22nd:

  • Panel Shipments: Up 5% Q/Q to 6.45 million square meters of display area.
  • Revenue Share by Application: TV (53%), monitor (23%), notebook (19%), mobile (5%)
  • Average Utilization Rate: Almost 100%.
  • Inventory: About two weeks.
  • Average Selling Price: Up 3% Q/Q to US$863 per square meter.
  • Cash + Cash Equivalents: KRW3,212 billion
  • Liability to Equity Ratio: 107% as of June 30, 2010

Expectations for third quarter 2010:

  • Panel Shipments: Up low- to mid-teens percentage Q/Q.
  • Average Selling Price: Gradual decline, stabilize or rebound from around September

No doubt LGD’s position of primary LCD source for Apple’s iPad and iPhone 4 has benefited the company but it is hard to tell how much the company is benefiting just by looking at the announcement. For more details here is the link to the full press release.

HP Slate: Likely Two Versions

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, Todd Bradley, HP Personal Systems Group VP shared that the company’s Slate tablet will be “more customer-specific than broadly deployed.” The Windows-based Slate will be “for the enterprise” launched in the fall.

My guess? Two Slates. One very capable with lots and lots of ports for the enterprise with possibly an additional ruggedized version competing against Panasonic in vertical markets. The other Slate would be consumer focused, very pretty, with less ports.

I would also like to see one customized for kids that have features from both enterprise and consumer version: rugged, very light, and light on the wallet. Source: Engadget

Droid X: Size Matters?

Just look at the photo above (source: Engadget) and you’ll realize Motorola’s Droid X is massive, precisely because the display is. At 4.3 inches the Droid X is 0.8 inches or almost 23% larger than the 3.5-inch LCD on the iPhones.

The Droid X is on Verizon, touted as the most reliable network in the US. I wish the iPhone 4 was too. According to Jennifer Byrne, a business development executive director at Verizon, Droid X users consume five times the data of other smartphones. Now why would that be?

I offer my unscientific opinion: because the display is big.

The 4.3-inch LCD make use of 800×480, which is a pixel format found in much smaller smartphones. Relatively speaking the 4.3-inch LCD-sporting Droid X provides larger fonts and icons thanks to the same number of pixels on a larger screen. The pixels are bigger. They are not as beautiful to look at compared to the stuff you see on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display but they are bigger and therefore easier to look at. For some, or a lot, that might be the difference leading to much more bandwidth usage. But there’s something missing.

Verizon said five times the bandwidth of other smartphones on its network. But what’s the average bandwidth usage of other smartphones? Do Droid X users use more bandwidth than the folks on iPhones? That would be interesting to find out.

So, what does this all mean? Big screens with big fonts and icons leads to more data usage. Just a hunch, but I think Droid X users are pulling down a lot more video than other users. IMO, the display is just about the right size to enjoy a personal movie experience.

Display Alliance

What is Display Alliance? A community website. An Internet marketing cooperative. According to ShopJimmy’s Jimmy Vosika:

Display Alliance is an aggregation of “crowdsourced” content related to the display industry. It’s a cool site and concept, and I hope it takes off (not merely because they syndicated my post).

Display Alliance enables display-related companies to work together, bypass traditional media channels and deliver value to a target audience. Here’s the open invitation:

If you work within the display industry, this is the site where you can publish display-related articles that feature your products, solutions and customers.

This site is not an association; it’s a marketing cooperative. There are no dues or membership fees. The only qualification you need to post here is the ability to deliver remarkable value to Display Alliance subscribers and visitors.

To post on Display Alliance, signup (it’s free) to become a contributing member.

I’ve been posting at Display Alliance and getting positive results. More information at Display Alliance.