AUO 65-inch 4K2K IGZO LCD

AUO: Compared to a-Si, IGZO allows better light transmittance. This could mean a brighter LCD with the same backlight or the same level of brightness and lower power consumption with a less powerful backlight.

Cramming more pixels used to mean having to cram more LEDs (or the same number but with brighter LEDs, or more efficient and more expensive optical films, etc.) into the backlight to maintain the same brightness levels, but with IGZO not so much. Folks, as well as governments, will want large 4K2K LCDs that sip power and that means TFTs of the future will be increasingly made with IGZO.

Microsoft Surface Review

Like almost all articles on DisplayBlog I will be focusing on the display. Microsoft’s Surface sports a 16:9 10.6-inch 1366×768 IPS LCD that is optically laminated to the cover glass. Surface RT, the version powered by an ARM CPU, starts at US$499 for the 32GB version. That should be enough to raise a lot of eyebrows for folks who expect a lot more pixels for that kind of money, though to be fair that’s double the storage you get with the iPad (3). Josh Topolsky, The Verge:

The display on the Surface is — as mentioned — a 16:9 screen, which means wide but not very tall. The display uses Microsoft’s ClearType technology, which supposedly produces better looking graphics and typography, even against displays with a much higher resolution (hello new iPad). The colors and blacks on the 10.6-inch screen do look stunning, but all the technology in the world can’t make up for pixels that aren’t there. At the size of the Surface screen, 1366 x 768 resolution leaves much to be desired — and even though things are sharp, text and some of the starker elements of the Microsoft’s new UI would clearly benefit from a higher res display.

1366×768 pixels on a 10.6-inch LCD equals to 147.8 ppi. Not that ppi is everything, but a bar has been set for premium tablets and it’s a resolution of around 200 ppi. Microsoft Surface falls way short of this. Without a doubt ClearType will help makes things prettier, but it cannot overcome such a large ppi deficit. If Microsoft wants to charge $499, Surface needs 1920×1080. Look at where things are going: The HTC J Butterfly, a 5-inch smartphone, packs 1920×1080.

Anand Lai Shimpi, AnandTech:

Rather than focus on pixel density it focused on improving contrast and reducing glare. Surface laminates the cover glass and LCD panel together, removing an annoying air gap that’s responsible for some reflections/glare and a reduction in brightness.

Optically laminated LCD and cover glass combined with a 200-ppi display would have been perfect. Even Apple hasn’t optically laminated the cover glass with the recently updated iPad, so credit is due Microsoft.

According to AnandTech Surface has a black brightness of 0.31 nits, beating all other tested tablets including the iPad (0.45 nits). White brightness of 433 nits is only mediocre, but is still better than the iPad’s 394 nits. Incredibly dark blacks is what takes the Surface right up to the very top when it comes to contrast: 1384, way higher than the iPad’s 934:1. Contrast is great, but color accuracy is merely good, and not as good as the iPad.

Peter Bright, Ars Technica:

So while there are certainly situations where Microsoft’s screen looks better than Apple’s—and these situations might even be commonplace if we were comparing laptops—as a tablet screen it would be better served with a higher resolution. If that means that battery life is worse, the solution is to enlarge the battery. After all, Apple manages to cram a 42.5Wh battery into the iPad, and the iPad is ever so slightly lighter than the Surface.

Surface as a notebook, meaning the display is farther away from you, is comparable to the iPad in terms of the visual experience; Surface as a tablet, up close and personal, falls flat compared to the iPad. You can’t compensate for the significant lack of pixels with software tricks.

It isn’t that Microsoft did not focus on the visual experience of using Surface; it’s just that Microsoft didn’t go far enough. Optical lamination is one important step, but Surface falls short of what seems an obvious expectation. We are just moving past the inflection point where to be competing at the high end the bar has been set for 16:9 10-inch tablets at 1920×1080. Microsoft promised a no compromise user experience, but in my opinion I only need to look at the display to know that Microsoft failed to deliver.

Rumor: HTC DLX

Phil Nickinson, Android Central:

Along with the Japan-exclusive HTC J Butterfly, the HTC DLX marks the manufacturer’s first foray into the 5-inch display category, known to some as “ridiculously large.”

Nah, 5 inch smartphones are not ridiculously large, the Samsung Galaxy Note and the LG Optimus Vu are. HTC is coming on strong with its J Butterfly and now its DLX, two smartphones that will challenge the title for sporting the best smartphone display in the world.

Rumor: Samsung-built Google Nexus 10

Matt Brian, The Next Web:

Google has also been working with Samsung to launch a 10-inch tablet, confirming leaks which suggested Google had teamed up with the Korean manufacturer for another device. Our source tells us that internally the tablet goes under the name “Codename Manta”, runs Google’s new Android 4.2 operating system (previously referred to as Key Lime Pie, but is set to retain the Jelly Bean branding), and will offer a 2560×1600 pixel (16:10) resolution, which we believe will offer around 300 pixels per inch (PPI) compared to the new iPad’s 264 PPI.

The rumored LG-built Nexus 4 smartphone based on the Optimus G, the ASUS-built Nexus 7 tablet, and now a rumor for a Samsung-built Nexus 10 tablet. Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10. Makes sense.

The display on the 10.1 inch (I’m guessing it’ll be a 10.1-inch PLS LCD) sports a 2560×1600 pixel format good for a resolution of 300 ppi. I like. Here’s what I hope to see: in-cell touch, cover glass laminated to the LCD, thinner and lighter than the iPad (3), WiFi and LTE versions, and starting at US$499.

While Apple is poised to attack the smaller tablets (7-inch Nexus 7, 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, 7-inch Barnes & Noble Nook HD, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and 7.7), Google is counterattacking Apple at the larger 10-inch tablet segment. October is going to be an exciting month.

Update 2012.10.29: Ron Mertens suggests the Nexus 10 will sport a 10-inch 2560×1600 IGZO LCD developed by AUO. A 10.1-inch 2560×1600 LCD has a resolution of 299 ppi, which is higher than the 264-ppi iPad (3).

4K UHD

via The Verge. Sony:

Just a quick note to let you know that as a leader at the forefront of new display technology such as HD, 3D and beyond, Sony lauds the CEA’s efforts to come up with a common language to describe the next generation high-definition technology. However, to ensure clarity for consumers and delineate between today’s and tomorrow’s technology, Sony will continue to use the 4K moniker for its products and will market its future products as 4K ultra high-definition (4K UHD).

CEA wants UHD. Sony prefers 4K. Consensus driven Sony brings the two together: 4K UHD. Diplomatic, yes. But folks will call 4K simply 4K.

Sony Consolidates Japan-based Lens Manufacturing

Sony:

In order to enhance the efficiency of Sony’s manufacturing operations relating to its digital imaging business, the manufacture of interchangeable lenses and lens blocks currently being conducted at Sony EMCS Corp.’s Minokamo Site (located in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture) will be absorbed by EMCS Corp.’s Kohda Site (located in Kohda, Aichi Prefecture). As Sony concentrates its mobile phone business on the area of smartphones, the operations currently being carried out at the Minokamo Site relating to mobile phones will be partially discontinued and partially transferred to Sony EMCS Corp.’s Kisarazu Site. As a result of this realignment, the Minokamo Site is scheduled to close at the end of March 2013.

At least Sony lenses will still be manufactured in Japan. After selling my silver NEX-5, and realizing the iPhone 4/4S photos weren’t cutting it, I recently purchased a used black NEX-5. The only thing I’d like to change is “Made in Thailand”; for me the experience of owning my NEX would have been enhanced with “Made in Japan”.

HTC J Butterfly

Sam Byford, The Verge:

The real attraction, though, is the 5-inch full HD Super LCD 3 screen — it’s truly a sight to behold. The Super LCD 2 seen in HTC’s previous flagship One X was arguably the best panel on the market, but we think its successor is the new champion. Color reproduction is excellent, the 440ppi resolution is astonishing, and the J Butterfly’s slightly convex glass makes the image look like it’s melting off the side of the phone.

4.x-inch 1280×720 smartphones have been bumped down a notch, top-of-the-line specs are now: 5 inches, 1920×1080 pixels, and in-cell touch (though I am not sure if the HTC J Butterfly has in-cell touch).

Microsoft Surface ClearType HD Display

Anand Lai Shimpi, AnandTech:

Although Surface RT only ships with a 1366 x 768 panel, Microsoft was quick to point out that there’s more to display quality than pure resolution.

That’s what you say when you don’t have enough pixels, but he does have a point.

Surface’s 10.6-inch panel features an optically bonded LCD and cover glass stack, similar to what we’ve seen in most modern, high-end smartphones. Optical bonding is expensive to do and not as common in large tablet panels, but Microsoft believes it can do so at reasonable yields on Surface.

The iPad’s cover glass isn’t optically bonded to the LCD, and it shows. The Surface ClearType HD display is a step ahead.

The optically bonded cover glass + LCD stack reduces internal reflections, thus reducing glare and increasing light transmission.

The difference between a display with an optically bonded cover glass can be easily seen by comparing the iPhone 4 and the iPad.

One clever trick is that Microsoft, through various coatings, index matches between the touch sensor’s ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) array and the cover glass, once again in pursuit of fewer reflections.

This is definitely clever, but a trick nonetheless. The better solution would have been to go with in-cell touch, which is what Apple did with the iPhone 5.

Update 2012.10.29: iFixit tore down the Surface and found the 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display to be supplied by Samsung with model number LT106AL01-002.

Update 2012.11.12: Raymond Soneira:

The display on the Microsoft Surface RT outperforms all of the standard resolution full size 10 inch Tablets that we have tested in our Display Shoot-Out series. The Lab tests and measurements documented in the Shoot-Out Comparison Table indicate that Microsoft has paid a lot of attention to display performance for the Surface RT. In particular, on-screen text is significantly sharper, it has a better factory display calibration, and also significantly lower screen Reflectance than the iPad 2 and all full size 1280×800 Android Tablets. But it is not as sharp as the iPad 3 or 4, nor does it have their large full Color Gamut.

The 10.6-inch 1366×768 ClearType HD Display used in the Microsoft Surface RT is the best there is among 10-inch tablets with non-retina displays. The only problem is the $499 10-inch tablet world has moved on, to retina displays. Even the smaller Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ sports a 1920×1200 pixel format for just $299. The Google Nexus 10 is $100 less and packs in 2560×1600 pixels. But at $499 Surface RT is really going up against the $499 iPad, which sports a brilliant 9.7-inch 2048×1536 LCD. The display makes the tablet. Microsoft fell short with the 10.6-inch 1366×768 ClearType HD Display and is asking too much for its Surface RT.