If you’ve ever tried to use a touchscreen with wet fingers or read an ebook in the rain (and yes, I have), then this could be for you. Japan Display Inc., the Japanese government-backed JV merger of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi’s LCD divisions, has announced details of new higher-sensitivity and water-resistant Pixel Eyes displays for mobile devices. Already a major supplier for the iPhone, Japan Display developed Pixel Eyes technology to incorporate touchscreen functionality directly into an LCD display (see below), instead of an extra layer over the LCD.
MacRumors carried the story speculating that Pixel Eyes technology might surface in the upcoming iPhone 7. However, the original Japan Display announcement appears to date back to December 2015 -albeit Japan Display’s latest financial results, just out, add further perspective.
According to Japan Display, “the new 2nd generation ‘Pixel Eyes’ display even operates with wet fingers. Furthermore, compared to other alternative in-cell touch technologies, JDI’s advanced technology makes it much easier to achieve higher resolution and realize larger size panels up to as large as 16-inch class,” from a claimed 6-inch limit for the first generation of Pixel Eyes displays.
Higher resolution might not seem much of a deal given the very high resolutions already available in high-end mobile devices. However, for onscreen handwriting aficionados like me, Pixel Eyes technology offers added appeal with a claimed sensitivity for passive styluses down to 1 millimeter.
Whether these attractions will be enough to drive wider adoption of Pixel Eyes displays is a different question. But Japan Display’s latest results show the company in profit and reporting higher demand for its core products, citing both demand from Chinese customers and “strong sales of smartphones displays to the company’s major customer in the US/Europe regions” (presumably Apple), so the prospects appear strong.