Samsung testing new display panels, could open door to flexible tablets and digitizer-less styluses

by: Andrew GrushDecember 4, 2013

Samsung Logo

Back in November Samsung’s CEO JK Shin revealed that their long-term goal was to dethrone Apple in the tablet market and become the “most beloved” company in the world. In order to accomplish this feat, Samsung is obviously going to have to step up its game a little.

So how will Samsung’s tablet strategy differ going forward? For starters, the company is rumored to be preparing to introduce larger-sized (12.2-inch+) displays in the not-too-distant future. Samsung’s ambitions in the tablet space don’t end there, either.

According to the Korean media, the company is planning to replace the indium tin oxide touch panels it uses for its tablets in favor of metal mesh panels. These metal mesh panels are allegedly 20% to 30% cheaper than current indium tin oxide-based panels, and are also said to be easier to produce. This could help with any possible supply and demand issues when it comes to producing panels.

If all goes well, the goal is to release a tablet with a metal mesh panel as early as the first half of 2014.

With less production costs involved with the display panels, Samsung may even be able to deliver better products at even cheaper price points – though that’s speculation on our part.

Aside from lowering production costs, metal mesh displays have a few other advantages. For one thing, they have low surface resistance, which allows them to bend easily, meaning they could be used for flexible tablet displays in the future.

Another benefit of metal mesh is that these panels will reportedly make it possible to create a pen stylus technology that doesn’t need a digitizer embedded in the touchscreen to work. This means that adding S-Pen tech to a Samsung device would be cheaper, and could even open the door to budget devices equipped with styluses.

So when might we see a Samsung tablet with a metal mesh panel? If the Korean media proves correct, Samsung has already received 7 and 8-inch metal mesh touch panels from domestic and oversea suppliers and is conducting tests as we speak. If all goes well, the goal is to release a tablet with a metal mesh panel as early as the first half of 2014.

Keep in mind that Samsung has yet to confirm any of this, so speculation is advised.

It’s also important to note that Samsung isn’t alone when it comes to experimenting with metal mesh touch panels. Just last month, LG Innotek also showed off their own metal mesh touchpanel, though LG has yet to reveal any devices that will use the technology.

  • Shark Bait

    Sounds good, I doubt they will pass any saving on to the customer though

  • John Doe

    If they want to keep their customers happy (with there phones at least), they need to extend the OS upgrade life to 18 months like Nexus phones.
    I dropped my last Samsung Note as they never upgraded it past ICS.
    I understand that now KK 4.4 is here that we may see longer OS upgrade life cycles due to it`s ability to be used on older phones. I just hate having a Manufacturer and Carrier tell me that I cannot have an upgrade due to their
    unwillingness to do the work!
    And Yes I can root the phone, but I don`t always want to do that ..
    AnyWho, always happy to hear that some company wants to rip Apple a new hole!!

    • Balaram

      Galaxy Note got updated to jelly bean months ago and it got ICS before that. Personally don’t own one but my friend has one and he says that’s its smooth and fast and got new features (wifi direct)

    • Modedmann

      S2 and note 1 is on 4.1.2 YOU GOT MODED

    • guest

      really? i thought the original GN was already updated to JB?

    • Jaun Lombard

      Not Samsung’s fault…its your carriers!

    • Raaj

      Samsung is the only known company to update their phones. Best examples S3, Note 2, Note 1, S2.
      I would like to know from you which other manufacturer spent their resources in upgrading their older phones “officially”. Like yourself I too don’t often use custom ROMs since I find many TW features useful – only for my use case scenario. Any other manufacturer and I would have to buy new phones to get the “software update”!
      If the carrier screws you over, it is not the manufacturer’s fault.

  • excadrill

    Digitizer-less styluses is good idea. I hope it also push price down for future stylus-based device.

  • Sean Karpa

    As an iPhone user, former iPad user, and current Note 10.1 2014 user, I must say I prefer the iPad in every area except the lack of stylus. I will probably keep the note just for the stylus and it’s nice to use a different interface. However to do work on the iPad was much nicer, faster, easier. The only software advantage with the 10.1 is dual windows. However, even that is limited.
    The iPad does less things (not all that much less) but what it does, is much easier, faster than the 10.1 in MY experience. The Note locks up on me sometimes just taking notes. It’s pretty sad. If the iPad gets a stylus, I will certainly be looking to jump back.