Thinner notebooks, thanks to LEDs, going mainstream

Notebook screens illuminated by light emitting diodes will start to become more common in 2006 because the cost of the components is coming down.

By the second quarter of 2006, LED-based backlight modules will only cost around $3 more than traditional cathode lamps, according to LED maker Everlight Electronics quoted in Asian tech site Digitimes. With the price premium so low, manufacturers will begin to adopt LEDs. Everlight is one of the larger LED manufacturers and is based in Taiwan, the nation of componentry.

LEDs consume less energy, and take up less room, which in turn leads to thinner notebooks that can run longer on a single battery charge. The screen is one of the most power hungry components in a notebook. LEDs also don't contain mercury, important for computer makers worried about environmental legislation being enacted around the world.

Currently, only Sony and Toshiba offer notebooks with LED-lit screens and then in only a few models.

The LED-lit screens will come in notebooks with 12- and 14-inch screens first, according to Everlight.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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