Sony Develops New Small Screen Technology

Sony has developed a new LCD screen which integrates a number of peripheral circuits on the screen for increased reliability and reduced bulk. The 320x480 (half VGA or high res+) resolution display supports a 260,000 color capability. This screen is a very likely candidate for use in Palm OS devices which will include the virtual graffiti input feature.

New Sony Screen TechThe screen is a 3.8-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon system-on-glass LCD panel, which integrates all peripheral circuits. The peripheral circuits include the: gate driver, source driver, timing generator, RGB interface circuit, reference driver, and Vcom driver. This new system will reduce the amount of circuitry for better reliability and decreased thickness.

We can only speculate at this point that these screens will be used in future Palm OS based devices. It seems very likely as current and future Sony PDA screens feature the same 320x480 high res plus screens. Sony plans to start volume production of the screens in early 2003.

Thanks to Dan for the tip!

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Sony really is an innovator in the handheld game.

Strider_mt2k @ 10/16/2002 6:53:54 AM #
They have tremendous resources to devote to research and development, and it looks like they are commited to advancing the state of the art.


RE: Sony really is an innovator in the *components* game.
Palm_Otaku @ 10/16/2002 12:35:33 PM #
I think it's important to note that Sony screens are used in more handhelds than just Clies, heh, some QVGA (320x240) screens are even found in some PPCs. ;-)

What this new component may offer is smaller size and (hopefully) reduced cost for device manufacturers. Until further details are available, we also hope for lower power requirements and increased contrast.

If the screen delivers on these fronts, it may help pave the way to broader availability of HVGA (you can call it "hi-res+" if you must) and virtual Graffiti on more Palm OS devices. Yum! :-)

- Dan Royea

RE: Sony really is an innovator in the handheld game.
Altema @ 10/16/2002 1:31:29 PM #
"I think it's important to note that Sony screens are used in more handhelds than just Clies"

Right you are. I was suprised at the number of screens from non-sony devices made by Sony. Of course, my biggest surprise came when I started fixing 505's that were out of warranty, and found that THAT screen was also made by Sony! This new screen looks promising and I hope it finds it's way into other Palm OS devices soon.

RE: Sony really is an innovator in the handheld game.
HandyMan @ 10/16/2002 2:29:23 PM #
I believe the new T-Mobile smart phones uses Sony screens. Previous iPaq models used to use Sony screens. Not sure if that's still the case.

This happens a lot. I've seen Casio digicams with Canon lens and I'm sure if you crack open any consumer electronic device you'll see that they have "competitor's parts" in them.

Component swapping
filtronic @ 10/16/2002 5:23:06 PM #
If you think that's impressive, Samsung make 1/2 the worlds computer chips.


Good morning Ryan!

Strider_mt2k @ 10/16/2002 7:04:39 AM #
Check Ryan out, all busy first thing in the AM!
Early bird catches the worm, as they say.
Go for it! :D

If there's one thing that'll make me switch from palm...

CKWM @ 10/16/2002 7:15:51 AM #
... it's the quality of the screens on the Clie. This new screeen sounds awesome.

The problem with all these developments is that you are always waiting for the next thing before upgrading!


jbarr @ 10/16/2002 9:06:13 AM #
And I am "this close" to purchasing an NX70V!!!!! Sometimes, I HATE how fast Sony develops things!!!

RE: AAAHhhhrrrggghhh!!!
Token User @ 10/16/2002 12:41:29 PM #
How close are you to purchasing a NX70V? It hasn't been released yet either :)

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~
RE: AAAHhhhrrrggghhh!!!
Admin @ 10/16/2002 12:48:35 PM #
You will probably be waiting for some time to see this make its way into a new handheld.

>> Sony plans to start volume production of the
>> screens in early 2003.

That's just the screens themselves, and then they will have to work it into a pda. You may see NX models with thinner screen portions or very slim models in a t-series body with virtual graffiti. This is all just speculation of course.


RE: AAAHhhhrrrggghhh!!!
pheromoneshop @ 10/26/2002 1:57:03 PM #
So for those whom have been waiting for this "compromised" model of a NX70, how now? argh! I'm in the same dilemma. Been stuck with a IBM C3 for 4 years.

Wish list. : Clamshell evolution : new screen : 2 MS slots : Universal CF or PMCIA slot : hardware graffiti option : built in bluetooth like the T68i : 1042 x 768 camera.

Battery life

Wenda @ 10/16/2002 9:09:36 AM #
Will this reduce the battery life?

Nothing to kill or die for.
RE: Battery life
hkklife @ 10/16/2002 9:19:59 AM #
That's the only thing I am (potentially) worried about. The drain on battery life, whish has never been stellar on Sony units thus far, and of course the ubiquitous Memory Stick complaints.

IMHO we've seen the last new greyscale device released by Sony. Now that the OS and the CPUS have caught up (mostly) to what Sony originally envisioned for their Clie lineup, they will hopefully start doing some heavy duty R&D work on screen and battery improvements like this.

RE: Battery life
ardee @ 10/16/2002 9:29:08 AM #
That's the question I was thinking of too. Will it reduce battery life? Might it actually improve battery life??

RE: Battery life
rokiteer @ 10/16/2002 9:29:40 AM #
The last thing Sony wants to do is introduce a new PDA screen technology that reduces battery life. I would be willing to bet that this development will be heralded by reducing screen power consumption by more than 50%. We'll just have to wait to see about that, of course, and it probably won't be as great an improvement if the screen is changing dynamically, like when playing an mpeg.

RE: Battery life
potter @ 10/16/2002 9:51:58 AM #
According to the press release, this display consumes 110mW. How this compares to Sony's current HVGA displays I do no know.

RE: Battery life
LgLator @ 10/16/2002 11:50:19 AM #
110mW. Wow!

Visor Prism at minimum Brightness: 469mW
Visor Prism at medium Brightness: 982mW
Visor Prism at maximum Brightness: 1548mW

Visor Edge, no backlight: 125mW
Visor Edge, backlight: 216mW

RE: Battery life
popko @ 10/16/2002 12:25:54 PM #
I don't know if the 110mW is the avg, min, or max. But if it really uses that little power, then there will be no point on making black and white devices anymore, as far as battery life's concerned. Lets just hope this thing is cheap to make too.

Love isn't about becoming somebody else's "perfect person." Rather, it's about finding someone who helps you become the best person you can be.
RE: Battery life
Be3G @ 10/16/2002 12:33:32 PM #
I would imagine it's 110mW without a backlight at all.


Check out Computer Talk:

RE: Battery life
ganoe @ 10/16/2002 1:17:34 PM #
I'd have to agree that it's probably 110mW without a backlight at all. The backlight does not seem to be included with this part. Their sales point here is reduced size and integrated components. If there was a significant reduction in power requirements, I'm sure we'd hear about it.

RE: Battery life
potter @ 10/16/2002 1:37:26 PM #
LgLator @ 10/16/2002 11:50:19 AM wrote:

> 110mW. Wow!
> Visor Prism at minimum Brightness: 469mW
> Visor Prism at medium Brightness: 982mW
> Visor Prism at maximum Brightness: 1548mW
> Visor Edge, no backlight: 125mW
> Visor Edge, backlight: 216mW

Those figures for the Prism and the Edge are for the entire handheld. The 110mW is just for the display. Though for the Prism, the largest chuck of those figures is for the display.

Hmm, the Prism and the Edge have roughly the same insides (save display, battery and connectors) so one could assume that the difference between the Prism's and the Edge's power consumption would all be towards the Prism's display. Therefore the Prism's display consumes at least:
At minimum Brightness: 355mW
At medium Brightness: 875mW
At maximum Brightness: 1423mW
The correct figures would be these plus the power that the Edge's display consumes with backlight off.

RE: Battery life
neoyuan @ 10/16/2002 2:11:42 PM #
The original Sony webpage does say the new screen will consume less power.

RE: Battery life
bcombee @ 10/16/2002 4:09:42 PM #
One way to reduce power comsumption is to put more of the functionality internal to a device, as signal connections between components use a lot more power than a connection internal to a chip.

This technology looks pretty promising. Way to go, Sony!

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: Battery life
umichboy @ 10/16/2002 10:03:18 PM #
This screen technology is nothing new. Toshiba will be using it in its latest Pocket PC to be released at the end of the year. Toshiba's supplier will be Toppoly Ltd. based in Chu-Nan, Taiwan. Toppoly is the only all LTPS TFT-LCD screen company in the world.

Samsung and others have also been using this technology, but unlike Toppoly the other companies continue to produce the older a-Si TFT (amorphous silicon) screens.

LTPS (Low-Temp Poly Silicon) has two major advantages over the older amorphous silicon. 1- Lower power consumption. 2- The electrons move faster in LTPS displays. This allows for faster response times.

The short answer to your question is: The screens will use less power, not more.

Last stand

sandbuck @ 10/16/2002 11:44:20 AM #
Sony is our best defense against this new crop of thin, cheap, fast PPC's coming out. Unless they switch....!!
RE: Last stand
abosco @ 10/16/2002 4:15:36 PM #
Yet Palm still leads the marketshare by a large enough margin to be comfortable. Sony is innovating and producing good things, but Palm is still in the lead by a lot. Don't expect that margin to decrease anymore, too. Soon, PPCs will offer no advantages over POS devices from Palm or Sony.

Beer is living proof that God wants us to be happy. -Benjamin Franklin


M3wThr33 @ 10/16/2002 11:46:54 AM #
A new Sony "Standard.".. woo

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Woo...
umichboy @ 10/16/2002 10:11:27 PM #
It's not new, and it's not proprietary Sony.


Gekko @ 10/16/2002 12:25:38 PM #
Hmmmmmmmmn. I wonder if they can squeeze that nice screen into a Dunngsten?

RE: Tungsten
M3wThr33 @ 10/16/2002 8:32:02 PM #
No, we'd prefer not to find a flaw in it(Like a blue tint) and force everybody to buy a new one, instead of a return or repair. Besides, although it's better, it probably costs more as well...

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Tungsten
brick @ 10/16/2002 9:52:49 PM #
Palm will probably take a year or so trying to figure out how to break off the bottom third of the screen to fit into the Dungsten, and then the next year trying to add the non-virtual graffitti pad in.



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