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IBM to show beefy flat panels at Comdex

IBM wants to improve its standing in the market for flat-panel displays in a big way.

IBM wants to improve its standing in the market for flat-panel displays in a big way.

IBM said today it will demonstrate the highest resolution flat-panel display as part of a strategy to boost its profile as a supplier of Comdex: Closing the millennium technology to other manufacturers at the Comdex computer trade show next week.

The display measures 20.8 inches diagonally and can show up to 2048 by 1536 pixels, which means users can see two standard-sized pages of text or images on the screen with greater clarity than with that found on other displays. Typical CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors in widespread use today offer resolutions of 800 by 600 pixels, in comparison.

IBM, already a major manufacturer of notebook displays, hopes to start supplying more technology to other companies at a time when LCD displays are commanding premium prices. PC makers are also investing heavily to ensure a stable supply.

Dell and Apple Computer have both made investments in Samsung, a competitor to IBM in the display market, in order to get enough displays for notebooks. Companies are starting to work together on resolving the shortages by setting standards for display components because PC manufacturers won't have to worry about stocking large inventories of soon-to-be obsolete displays.

"As display resolution increases, LCDs are quickly gaining momentum as a superior alternative to CRTs," Kevin Reardon, strategy director of IBM Technology Group said in a statement.

Superior, perhaps, but not less expensive. Liquid crystal display (LCD) flat panels do weigh less, take up much less space, and consume about one-third the power of conventional CRT monitors, but are not often found on desktops because of their price.

Still, flat panels are increasingly being incorporated into computer designs to impart a sleeker look and prestige-partly owing to their cost. IBM will start offering redesigned business PCs next year that include a flat panel and throw out old PC connection technologies. Additionally, Gateway today introduced a revised consumer PC that incorporates the guts of the computer into the flat panel case. Apple Computer is offering a 22-inch LCD display that offers the same viewing area as a 24-inch flat CRT display

IBM didn't say how much the display will cost, but noted it expects its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers to incorporate the panel into products for uses such as stock trading operations, content creation, and drafting.