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Electronic Design

A Balance Of Power

In many applications, the demand for more content is growing, in addition to a need for corresponding device functionality. MP3 players now display video, while PDAs offer phone functionality. Cell phones feature video, Web browsers, mapping functions, and even e-books. Achieving optimal cost/performance ratios forces manufacturers to trade some features for others. Finding balance will be key to marketplace success.

One of the most critical factors of next-generation mobile devices is power distribution. Battery technology can't keep up with the multimedia-driven increase in power consumption. The burden falls on the industry to determine how to cut power consumption without compromising the very specifications that allow displays to accommodate next-generation applications. Higher resolution decreases aperture ratio and transmissivity, and it uses more power for equivalent luminance. Brightness is essential for driving video and other multimedia applications, but balancing these needs intelligently is essential to a successful product.

One way to do this is via sub-pixel rendering (SPR). One such example is Clairvoyante's PenTile RGBW technology, which is being used by several display manufacturers to solve balance problems. It provides the flexibility to tune the ratio of brightness-to-power consumption to the resolution best suited to the application, becoming useful for any display technology.

SPR techniques can maintain visual resolution while reducing the number of columns by a third. This enables each column to be one-third wider than the columns required for a stripe display and increases the aperture ratio accordingly. In addition, the white subpixels further increase light throughput, enabling transmissivity to double in small-format VGA displays. And because it can be implemented without disrupting, say, a modern LCD production process, it's a cost-effective way to create products optimized for application and performance.

Thanks to this new subpixel rendering technology, display manufacturers will be able to introduce qVGA and VGA display lines in 2006 that satisfy consumer demand for full-featured next-generation devices. Best of all, it accommodates new content-rich handheld applications without trading off between display resolution, brightness, and power consumption.

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