Display panels are one of the biggest energy consuming components in our handsets, they are estimated to account for between 40 and 50 percent of power usage in the average smartphone. Any energy efficiencies that can be made here should do wonders for battery life.
Kaneka, a specialty materials company based in Japan, has recently developed a new protect film for LCD panels which passes through twice as much light as current technologies. In theory, this could almost double the battery life of future smartphones.
The film in question is used to protect an LCD display’s polarizing plate, which is a critical component for polarizing the desired light before it reaches the LCD’s colour filters. Kaneka’s protective layer is constructed from acrylic resin, and its biggest benefit is that it increases the amount of light that reaches the surface of the display.
With conventional films only around 10 percent of the backlight passes through successfully, whilst Kaneka’s new design should allow up to 20 percent of the light to pass through. Therefore, the LCD backlight can be run at just half of the original brightness, consuming roughly half the amount of power, to produce an output with equal brightness to current designs. This technology could also help LCD compete with OLED’s improved energy efficiency.
Unfortunately for consumers, Kaneka’s technology is still a little way off from hitting the market place. The company is expected to begin shipping samples of its film to Japanese LCD panel manufacturers in the near future, which should lead to full scale production starting in January next year. Actual products could start to appear sometime after the panels start rolling off the manufacturing line, but that probably won’t be until mid/late 2015 or 2016.