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NEC spotlights 'brightest' semi-reflective LCD yet

Super screen tech for PSPs, PDAs, iPods etc, company claims

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NEC today unveiled a 3.5in LCD it claims can reproduce colours "clearly and vividly" in brightly lit conditions. It does the trick by increasing the amount of light the display reflects back through its screen and also by boosting its luminance beyond that of any other panel of its kind.

The LCD - prosaically dubbed the NL2432HC22-40A - is pitched at handheld devices. According to NEC, it delivers a luminance rated at 220cdpm² - around 130 per cent brighter than other semi-transmissive LCDs already on the market. The new panel has a contrast ratio of 150:1, compared to 90:1 for most other such panels, and a reflective ratio of 15 per cent - again more than double the rating of standard portable-device panels.

nec's super-reflective natural light TFT semi-transmissive lcd

The manufacturer also claimed the part - which it described as a "super-reflective natural light TFT" - is ten per cent lighter than other 3.5in LCD panels. In addition to the display, NEC has fitted the part with a DC power converter and a timing controller, it said, to reduce device costs.

LCDs traditionally use transmissive or reflective illumination. The former use a backlight to shine light through the panel. That makes for rich, bright colours but comes at the cost of high power consumption, thanks to the backlight. Reflective displays use ambient light, allowing it to pass through the screen then be reflected back again to illuminate the display. It's more energy-efficient than the backlight system, but the colours don't look as good.

For battery-powered devices, the ideal screen uses both approaches, giving the device a screen that's readable in bright ambient light and in darker conditions. The difficulty in creating effective so-called 'semi-transmissive' displays has been to find the right balance between the two modes of illumination, and that's what NEC today claimed it had achieved - or at least got closer to the point than other display vendors have.

NEC said it will begin sampling the screen in June. ®

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