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Toshiba growing plant to source iPhone screens

Low-temperature polycrystalline silicon, anyone?

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Toshiba is building a factory to make LCDs for iPhones and allow it to double its output, it has been claimed.

So says Japanese newspaper Nikkei, by way of Reuters, which adds that the iDevice display dealing plant is being built in Ishikawa prefecture alongside an existing screen factory.

It will begin punching out small panels in the second half of 2011, the paper said.

The plant will be run by Toshiba subsidiary Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD). Construction is being jointly funded by the Japanese giant and by Apple, Nikkei claimed.

According to TMD's website, it currently doesn't produce any mobile phone or "mobile AV device" screen of a size and resolution to match the iPhone 4's 960 x 640 "retina display". But that doesn't mean it's not going to in the future.

The new plant will produce low-temperature polycrystalline silicon panels. LTPS is a better way of building LCD thin-film transistors onto a glass substrate. The technique ensures the formation of a regular crystal pattern which enables fast electron flow, a quality inhibited by the random crystal layout of ordinary "amorphous" silicon screen technology.

LTPS allows driver chip circuitry to be built right into the display itself, which means displays can feature smaller, more closely packed pixels. The display can be made thinner as a result, which in turn means it requires a less powerful backlight, reducing the display's impact on the host device's battery life. ®

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