updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu October 18, 2007
AUO Ultra Thin Multi-Touch
AU Optronics today revealed that it had developed a new form of multi-touch display that could dramatically reduce the thickness of current versions. Known as an "in-cell" design, the process weaves the touch-sensitive surface directly into an LCD's surface and would eliminate the need for separate layers that add to the thickness, including protective glass. A 4.3-inch, 480x272 resolution example screen is just 2.2mm deep while still recognizing multiple input points, the company says. The absence of glass also cuts down on glare and improves the perceived image quality outdoors.
AU Optronics will demonstrate the technology next week at the FPD show in Yokohama, Japan but expects to ship production units from its Taiwan factories sometime during 2008. No advance customers were named in the announcement; Apple, one of the only companies to currently use multi-touch displays, relies on a more conventional multi-layer design from the German firm Balda for its iPhone and iPod touch handhelds.
As part of the announcement, AU Optronics has also revealed what it believes is one of the thinnest mobile LCDs ever. The company has developed a 1.9-inch LCD which measures at only 0.69mm (0.03 inches) thick courtesy of thinner glass and improved components for the back end of the display. In spite of its small size, the screen is brighter than many larger screens at 400 nits, according to the claim. A production schedule for the thin LCD was unavailable.