IZGO Laptop Screens, a new lease of life for the LCD industry?
"The iPad 3 will be based on this new technology"
The marketable success of a product rests on two age old factors: supply and demand. When both experience steady and equal growth, a product is likely to perform well. However, given the current period of general economic hardship the supply of flat-panel screens for both laptops and televisions has vastly outweighed consumer demand.
Despite this, the production of screens, driven by company competition, is at its zenith. This disparity between supply and demand has forced down product prices to such an extent that they no longer cover production costs. In a bid to ease losses, companies have curbed their overheads,expecting a financially difficult 2012.
However, there are signs that 2013 may be more promising thanks to a material called IGZO and a new brand of ultra high resolution screens. IGZO is the abbreviated name for Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide which is a semi-conducting material that is currently being used to fashion transparent thin-film transistors, the key component of LCD and OLED screens.
Unlike the silicon found in most transparent-thin film transistors, IGZO possess a greater capacity for electron mobility, thus making it 40% more efficient than silicon based transistors. This increased efficiency means that IGZO screens are able to contain smaller pixels capable of shifting states more quickly and efficiently than silicon models.
Equally, smaller pixel sizes means a greater number can be fitted into any given area, helping lay the ground for the production of ultra-high resolution screens in the same vein as Apple’s anticipated 2048x1536 iPad 3.
Furthermore, the use of smaller pixels allows more light to pass through the screens, meaning backlights need not be so fierce and the models don’t consume vast amounts of energy. In terms of production it is not particularly difficult to modify an LCD line so that it produces IGZO screens, as point evidenced by Sharps’ swift alteration of their production line to produce such screens in the closing quarter of 2011. The world of television may not absorb this technology as quickly as computing companies however, as content providers in that field are only just getting to grips with the demands of HD viewing (which requires resolutions well within the scope of the old silicon based screens.)
In the computing world though, Apple have been formulating resolution independent graphics in an anticipatory bid to cope with the ultra high resolution technology materials such as IGZO produce. If this is an early indicator of Apple embracing these new screens, we can expect their competitors to do the same, in a move which “Displaysearch” believes will inflate demand, gradually in 2012 and vastly in 2013.
When married with the limited IGZO supply in relation to older LCD models, inflation in demand would help restore both the economic equilibrium and LCD manufacturer margins.