LG's ultra-thin touchscreen panels will enable lighter, thinner notebooks

LG's AIT panels are coming to a notebook near you.

LG announced on Monday that it will introduce a thinner and lighter touch LCD for 14- and 15.6-inch laptops later in 2015. The new display uses LG's Advanced In-Cell Touch (AIT) technology, which achieves extra thinness by embedding the touch capability within the LCD itself. Traditional touch displays require three layers that include the protective glass, a touch layer, and the LCD panel.

The use of in-cell touch technology means a 15.6-inch LG AIT touch panel will be about 25 percent thinner and 35 percent lighter than typical laptop touch displays of that size. The new displays will be available in "Full HD," which typically means 1080p.

LG says the AIT panels also mean the user will see brighter and clearer images. In addition, touch capability will not diminish even if you get some water on the screen--LG made a similar claim for the AIT-loaded G4 smartphone.

The company expects the first notebooks using AIT panels to appear during the second half of 2015. With Windows 10 rolling out on July 29 it's not clear if the AIT tech will make it into new laptops in time for the back-to-school rush, when PCs typically experience a sales bump.

Nevertheless, the displays will almost certainly show up in laptops for the holidays. LG says "several global notebook PC brands" are already set to use the new panels and it is actively courting other companies interested in varying screen sizes.

The story behind the story: In-cell touch technology has been an ongoing theme for tech companies in recent years, although mostly for smartphones. LG already uses AIT with the LG G4 smartphone, Apple added in-cell technology to the iPhone 5 in 2012, and in 2013 Google's LG-made Nexus 5 used an in-cell panel from Synaptics. Samsung takes a similar but slightly different approach with on-cell technology that integrates the touch functionality into the protective glass instead of the LCD panel. The end result, however, is a thinner display requiring one less layer. For a quick tutorial on in-cell vs. on-cell check out FlatpanelsHD's write-up from 2012.

LG out in front

LG appears to be, if not the first, one of the earliest companies to have an in-touch panel ready for notebooks.

In June, Sharp said it had begun mass production of its own in-cell technology for smartphones and was actively developing larger sized panels for tablets and notebooks.

Even though they are ready for touch, LG's AIT screens do not support digital pen functions. The company says it is working on that feature, but did not say when we might see pen-friendly notebooks with AIT displays.

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Ian Paul

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