Notebook, monitor panels integrate touch and 3D functionality

Austin, Tex. — Touch and 3D functionality are impacting the development of notebook PC and LCD monitor panels for 2010, according to DisplaySearch’s latest quarterly report on large-area TFT-LCD products. TFT-LCD panel makers have also increased the use of Gen 5 fabs to produce mini-note (netbook) and notebook PC panels, according to the market researcher.

The report, “Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report“, indicates that panel manufacturers will feature 3D and touch features in a variety of new notebook and LCD monitor panels in 2010. Another key finding shows that while 120 Hz became a mainstream feature for LCD TVs in 2009, 240 Hz with LED backlights will dominate in 2010.

DisplaySearch finds that most panel makers are developing 11.6-inch W LCDs with touch functionality for notebook PCs and mini-notes (netbooks) in 2010, leveraging Windows 7. In support of the trend, Samsung has canceled plans to produce 15.6-inch W notebook panels with in-cell touch in the second quarter of 2010, in favor of using touch panels.

In addition, Samsung, LG Display and AUO are all developing new monitor panel models with touch and 3D features for 2010 launches, reports DisplaySearch.

DisplaySearch said CMO has been the most aggressive in promoting 3D and touch capabilities in monitor panels. The company is currently mass producing 23.6-inch W 3D displays, while 23.6-inch W and 27-inch W versions with touch capability will be mass-produced in the first quarter of 2010.

The fourth quarter report also includes a special 121-page report on the FPD International 2009 Exhibition, including an analysis of panel maker exhibits and showcased large-area LCD features: 3D, touch panel, EPD (e-paper), AMOLED, green (eco) products, LED and 120/240 Hz, as well as new materials and processes.

DisplaySearch also released its quarterly report on large-area production, which forecasts strong LCD panel demand in the first quarter of 2010. As a result, panel makers are planning to increase production volumes to meet this demand.

The total area input is forecast to grow 1.7 percent Q/Q, and unit volumes of panel output will grow 1.6 percent Q/Q, according to DisplaySearch. Here’s the breakdown: Notebook panel output will increase 4.5 percent Q/Q, monitor panels will grow 1.1 percent, and TV panels by 0.7 percent.

The report, “Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report“, also indicates that TFT-LCD panel makers for netbook and notebook PC panels are moving to Gen 5 fabs driven by increased competition and to take advantage of new fab capacity.

The report finds that 93 percent of mini-note panels were produced in Gen 5 fabs in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 69 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. Other than CPT and Toshiba, which produce mini-note panels in Gen 4 fabs, most panel makers are now producing mini-note panels in Gen 5, said DisplaySearch.


The move to Gen 5 allows for higher efficiency, as more panels can be produced on each substrate, said DisplaySearch.

“Because top-tier panel manufacturers have multiple generations of LCD fabs, they have the flexibility to modify panel production to produce panels with the highest efficiency. An increasing amount of LCD TV panel production is being transferred to Gen 7 and 8 facilities, and monitor panel production is shifting to Gen 6 and 7; even Gen 8 accounts for 5 percent of monitor panels produced in the fourth quarter of 2009,” said Shawn Lee, TFT LCD analyst at DisplaySearch in a statement.