The LCD price fixing shenanigans continue, at least according to Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker who has filed suit against Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, and other LCD manufacturers over allegedly colluding to fix prices, Bloomberg reports.
Filed on November 25, the lawsuit is based on both federal and state antitrust claims and makes essentially the same arguments as AT&T did last month when it filed a suit in the same court, also against LCD manufacturers. According to Nokia, Samsung and more than six other LCD makers conspired to raise the price of displays.
"The liquid-crystal displays were incorporated into Nokia mobile wireless handsets," according to the complaint. The conspiracy "artificially inflated the price of liquid crystal displays ultimately incorporated into LCD products purchased by Nokia, causing Nokia to pay higher prices."
Each of the suits direct the court's attention to a U.S. Justice Department investigation of display price fixing. Hitachi, who pleaded guilty in March in the inquiry, is one of the defendants named in Nokia's suit, but not AT&T's.
Want to know what's even better than Ostendo's 43-inch CRVD curved display? Having three of them side-by-side, that's what. It isn't cheap, and at $6,500 each, three of them will run almost $20,000. That's a lot of scratch, but then again, have you seen this video?
According to Ostendo, the curved monitor measures 43 inches and offers an ultra-wide 32:10 aspect ratio, which is 180 percent wider than 16:9 displays and 240 percent wider than 4:3 monitors. It works with existing videocards and doesn't require any special hardware, software, or drivers, other than a graphics card powerful enough to push gaming pixels at a 2880x900 resolution.
Whoever is the first to market with a next-gen handheld tablet will have accomplished what's becoming a tremendous feat: shipping the freaking thing. Michael Arrington insists that his CrunchPad hasn't entered the realm of vaporware, and Apple still continues to deny the existence of its own tablet, which the most recent rumor says will ship sometime in the second half of 2010.
And then there's the Archos 9 PC Tablet, which went up for order on October 22nd, but is still a few weeks away from shipping, SlashGear reports. If you plan on picking one up at retail, expect to wait even longer. According to Archos, the 8.9-inch Windows 7 UMPC won't arrive in stores until sometime in the first quarter of 2010.
Archos didn't say what's causing the delay, and it will be interesting to see how the pushed-back launch affects sales. By the time the tablet ships, Intel will be churning out next-gen Atom chips, making the Archos' 1.1GHz Atom Z515 even more unappealing.
It looks like the ever-elusive Apple tablet will stay out of sight a little longer than last planned. According to the latest chatter from component makers, Apple plans to postpone the launch from next March to sometime in the second half of 2010.
Apparently Apple has decided to fiddle with its component selection, including a model that will launch with a 9.7-inch OLED panel from LG. Another model said to be in the works will sport a 10.6-inch TFT LCD panel.
Outside of the rumored panel choices, we still don't have any information on what hardware Apple plans to use, but the chatty sources were able to estimate a price. Most 9.7-inch OLED panels run about $500, which typically makes up about 30 percent of the device's total cost. That being the case, Apple's tablet could end up commanding $1,500 to $1,700, the sources say. However, those figures are based on today's prices, and OLED panels are dropping in costs. By the time the second half of 2010 rolls around, the Apple tablet could drop to $1,200 to $1,500, based on the above scenario.
As for the 10.6-inch LCD tablet, sources expect the device to cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000.
During the FPD show in Japan, LG laid out its future plans for OLED displays with a roadmap that extends into 2016. And according to Wom Kim, LG's sales and marketing VP, that's the year OLED panels will cost less than LCD displays, providing it can leap over a handful of technological hurdles.
"We will be able to use a lwo-temperature polycrystal silicon with the sixth-generation size glass substrate," Kim said. "However, for 40-inch and larger panels, we have to use the eight-generation size glass substrate.Therefore, we have to develop equipment that can deal with an SPC process at a temperature of more than 700C."
Despite the challenges facing low-cost OLED displays, Kim believes his company will be able to transition from 50 percent higher material costs and 30 percent lower yields compared to LCDs in 2012, to a 20-30 percent lower material cost and equivalent yield in 2016.
Up until then, don't look for too many deals when it comes to OLED.
"Forty-inch and larger OLED panels will be fairly expensive in 2012, but they will be available in the market," Kim added.
There's slender, and then there's Samsung's disgustingly thin 40-inch LED TV panel measuring just 3.9mm thick, or a third the size of the company's previous panel. We say "disgusting" only because some of us are still bitter over dropping a couple grand on a bulky rear-projection earlier in the decade.
The super-slim backlit LED display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, full HD resolution support, and a 5000:1 contrast ratio. It's also the world's thinnest LCD panel, measuring 7mm slimmer than Samsung's full production LED TV panel and about 45mm thinner than conventional LCD displays. Prior to today, LG held the title with its 5.9mm LED TV.
So when and where can you buy one? Good question - Samsung hasn't released the 3.9mm panel yet, but according to Akihabaranews.com, the company hopes to do so very soon.
AT&T has a bone to pick with several big-name LCD makers, and it will do it in court. The telco has sued a number of display manufacturers over allegedly fixing the price of more than 300 million mobile LCD screens.
Those on the receiving end of the lawsuit include Samsung, LG Display, Optronics, Sharp, and Chungwa. According to the lawsuit, the display makers "formed an international cartel illegally to restrict competition in the United States in the market for LCD panels."
AT&T called the whole situation a "conspiracy," accusing the defendants of agreeing to eliminate competition and fix LCD panel prices that they knew would be incorporated in LCD products and sold in the U.S.
This isn't the first price fixing scandal to hit the LCD industry, nor is it the first time LG, Chunghwa, and Sharp have been tied to price fixing allegations. All three agreed to plead guilty to similar charges in November 2008 and to pay $585 million in criminal fines.
Almost as a side note, HP today announced its new Compaq L2105tm touchscreen monitor, dedicating just a few lines to promoting the display in a press release which covered several items.
The 21.5-inch, 1080p display sports a multitouch panel with one finger scrolling and two finger mousing capabilities.. But if you prefer to roll with a stylus, you'll find one jammed conveniently into the side of the monitor. You can even use a gloved finger, says DisplayBlog.com, who points out that the two cameras, infrared light, sensor, and reflective film create a rugged light field capable of detecting just about any type of object.
There was a little bit of marketing glitz on HP's part. According to the OEM, this is the world's first Windows 7 certified monitor, which you means you can plug it in groove to your newly acquired copy of the just-released OS.
The e-book reader market is fast becoming a crowded niche, so in order to stand out from the competition, some manufacturers are taking liberties with the basic design. Take Spring Design, for example, who on Monday announced a dual-screen e-book reader built around Google's Android platform.
"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text," said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. "We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations. This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."
Called 'Alex,' the new e-book readers sport a 6-inch e-ink EPD display on the top portion and a 3.5-inch color LCD on the bottom. Spring Design says Android has been optimized to support integration between the two displays to prolong battery life. But what exactly is the point of the color display?
Apparently Alex owners are able to capture and cache Web content on the color display and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery. Users can also create their own images and notes to augment the original text.
Spring Design says it is still talking with "major content partners" and hopes to release Alex into the wild by the end of the year.
Boy oh boy has 3D technology come a long way since the advent of those horrendous blue and red glasses that are still around today. Taking the technology to a new level, Sony says it has developed a 360-degree 3D display, which it plans to show off during Tokyo's Digital Content Expo 2009 this Thursday.
Sony says no goofy glasses are required to view the stereoscopic, 24-bit color image, which measures just 96 x 128 pixels. The image is viewable from all angles, but Sony didn't say if you'll be able to see the side of the image, depending on where you're oriented in relation to the display.
It's just a novelty at this point, but as research and development continues, Sony said it could see this technology being used as a 3D photo frame or in videophones.