Samsung Intros Ultrathin LCD for Mobile Phones

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A new, super slim LCD screen from Samsung, specially designed for mobile phones, will help consumer electronics devices shrink to ever-smaller sizes. Samsung's 0.82-mm LCD for has some wondering just how thin is too thin? The new Samsung screen, along with its i-Lens technology, will let phone makers trim 2.5 mmm off a phone's thickness.

Thin is in at Samsung. The South Korean electronics giant has announced a new LCD for mobile phones that, at 0.82 mm, is no thicker than a credit card.
Today, most mobile phones use LCDs that add two or three millimeters to a phone's design. But Samsung's new screen, along with a technology it calls i-Lens, will let phone makers trim nearly 2.5 millimeters off a phone's thickness.

What's more, the new LCD is shock-resistant to protect the phone more effectively. And, according to Samsung, it can protect your eyes, too, making outdoor reading -- even in bright sunlight -- less painful.

When Is Thin Too Thin?

As consumer electronics devices shrink to ever-smaller sizes, one might wonder just how thin is too thin. According to Avi Greengart, a handset expert and principal analyst at research firm Current Analysis, the slimmest phones invite questions about weakness.

"There has been some concern that they're too thin," he said, "and that they're not sturdy enough. You put them in your pocket, you sit down, and they snap in two."

What's more, phones that are too thin might sacrifice important functions -- like battery life -- for the sake of fashion. With that said, Greengart noted that he sees several benefits in Samsung's announcement.

"When you get thinner components that aren't the battery," he said, "you enable thinner phones with good battery life." For instance, if you can shave a millimeter off the display, you can add a millimeter to the battery, giving users more time to chat. "That's a wonderful trade-off," he noted.

Pantability Quotient

"The trend towards smaller, miniaturized components has been underway since the first transistor radio," said Greengart, noting that it won't stop now. Indeed, some phone makers vie to create the thinnest designs, knowing that a segment of the consumer market views thin phones as fashion statements.

Others care more about comfort, a concern that Greengart called the "pantability quotient."

"The definition for 'pantability' in my dictionary is the ability to slip a phone into your pocket and not feel like you've got a lump of coal in there," he said. "It's more than a fashion accessory. For many people, a cell phone is permanently welded to their bodies."

So what does the future hold? Waif-like phones, perhaps, or phones so thin they can barely be seen, produced by an industry that's in an all-out race for the smallest, sleekest, and slimmest?

"Sooner or later there will be one that's so thin," joked Greengart, "that you'll put it in your mouth and it dissolves."
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