updated 11:00 am EST, Thu December 27, 2007
12-inch Touch in 2008
Panel designers should have notebook-sized touchscreens that are virtually indistinguishable from their view-only counterparts in the second half of next year, say tips from Taiwan firms. Local business AU Optronics is reportedly developing a 12.1-inch LCD that would use in-cell touch input, escaping the need for a separate layer just to sense contact from the user. The technique allows displays that are as thick as today's LCDs and contrasts sharply with existing tablet PCs, which often gain bulk with the need for a touch-capable display.
The display is intended for subnotebooks and should gradually enter mass production starting in mid-2008, though there are no immediate customers for the screen: for the technology to work, companies must first produce software that enables the touch feature, AUO says.
Opposing firm Chunghwa Picture Tubes has also recently showcased and is developing a 15.4-inch in-cell touch display that would achieve the same effect as the 12-inch screen. System builders can drop the touchscreen into an existing case without changing its basic design, according to Chungwa. It should be available in late 2008 but may be pushed into 2009 depending on factory readiness and the amount of orders.
No information is available either from the source of the AUO report or from Chungwa as to whether either screen will support a multi-touch interface, though in-cell technology improves the ability to recognize multiple contacts by placing the sensors at the surface.