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In-Cell Display Technology for smartphones may become the no. 1 choice for OEMs

NPD DisplaySearch’s current statistics suggests that the popular in-cell display technology, which Apple used for iPhone 5, would become the top choice of smartphone manufacturers. It is because not only does this technology offer thinner and lighter panel, it is also very economical as far as power consumption is concerned.

By the end of the year, 7.5 percent of mobile phone manufacturers will switch to in-cell technology in which, according to NPD, will eventually increase to 16.7 per cent by the year 2018. The Dual ITO (DITO) film is currently used for tablets more than DITO glass because it is lighter and thinner compared to the latter. Based on NPD’s data around 12 percent tablet makers will use the DITO film as display panel of their devices.

Apple patented an innovation that uses a thin in-cell surface combining the primary display and the touch surface, which concedes very thin screen, about three months ago. It is never a secret that iPhone 5 comes packed with an in-cell technology display built by three companies employed by Apple. On the other hand, iPad mini uses DITO film.

NPD research director, Calvin Hsieh, said these two recent forecasted capacitive touch sensor frames empowered Apple in reducing the density and weight of its iPhone 4 and iPad mini products. Consumer demands are high because of the fact that Apple used new technology, as it always does, for its new devices. However, the production of in-cell displays has been proven problematic.

One of the manufactures employed by Apple to build in-cell displays for its iPhone 5 was Sharp. We reported a few months ago that the company had difficulties in keeping up with Apple’s demands. Many thought it was only Sharp that was having some problems in the production of iPhone 5’s display but both Japan Display and LG Display said the new technology demands a lot of resources to build.

Apple owns the patent for in-cell display technology and it hired three manufacturers to produce display with 1136 x 640 pixels resolution. While the technology has already been shared to these companies, they are strictly prohibited to sell, reproduce or distribute it to other OEMs but Apple.

Both in-cell and DITO technologies offer more benefits than the typical LCD or even the AMOLED display. But since the production is problematic and demand grows higher, the price may be widely affected. Smartphone makers that are targeting the low-end market with budget-friendly devices will definitely think twice whether to use in-cell display or not.

Tablet makers, however, may adapt DITO to produce thinner and lighter slates in the future. That is if there are no other technologies invented in the next couple of years. Samsung is one of the companies that never cease to research new possibilities in the display market. But let’s wait and see which company can produce top-notch display panels in the future.