News out of Asia claims that Samsung Electronics will apply a metal mesh touch screen panel to their next generation Galaxy tablet in 2014. Samsung's strategy is to reinforce its cost competitiveness in the tablet space by replacing indium tin oxide (ITO) with a new metal mesh made of silver and copper materials. In the long run, the new metal mesh based displays will be used to develop more advanced flexible displays that will utilize next generation digitizer-less pen recognition technology.
According to this new report, the Advanced Development Team of the Wireless Business Division at Samsung Electronics is now testing the new displays for reliability and hopes to bring this new display to market in the second half of 2014, likely Q4.
About Metal Mesh for Smaller Displays
Metal mesh is a technology for making grid patterns on the film and coating the pattern with metals like silver and copper. As the surface resistance is low, it is suitable for large-area display products like tablet computers. One advantage to this technology is that it's bendable and highly suitable for flexible displays.
Yet to be able to use mesh technology required Samsung to overcome the "Moiré phenomenon," or "overlapping" with the high-resolution displays over 200ppi (pixels per inch). Samsung was able to overcome this negative in order to make it suitable for commercialization on smaller devices. They did so by reducing the line width of the metal mesh sensor from 5-6um to 3um. If the line width is further reduced to 1um then the new material will be able to be integrated into future smartphones. According to the report, Samsung is close to achieving that goal which is promising. Up until now the technology has been limited to all-in-one computers, larger monitors and notebooks.
Samsung will be able to reduce the cost of future tablet and smartphone displays by illuminating the need for the more expensive indium used in current ITO based displays. The savings could be as high as 25-30% if volumes are right.
Another Advantage to Metal Mesh Displays will be Advancing the ePen
According to the report, Samsung will be able to capitalize on the commercialization of the metal mesh TSP to accelerate the development of next-generation technologies like flexible displays and digitizer-less pen solutions.
Currently, to implement the pen recognition solution in smartphones and tablets, a driver chip separate from the digitizer sensor layer must be embedded. The Galaxy Note series is a typical example. However, if the line width of the TSP bezel line width is 10um and the number of touch chip channels is increased, it'll be possible to implement the pen recognition solution without any additional cost.