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A brighter outlook for handheld screens?

Japanese company Omron develops a technology that it says makes handheld screens brighter and clearer while consuming less power.

A Japanese company has developed lighting technology that it claims makes handheld screens brighter and clearer, with reduced power consumption.

Omron, of Kyoto, Japan, has announced that its research labs produced a technique--dubbed hybrid-integration technology--that uses very small, or "nano," prism arrays to achieve a threefold improvement in contrast ratio compared to conventional front-lighting methods. The tiny prism array prevents reflection of unnecessary light and produces clear screen images.

The design also allowed a reduction in number of light-emitting diodes(LEDs), the screen's light source, and as a a result reduces power consumption, the company said.

Existing front-lighting methods, in which LEDs light up the front of a liquid-crystal display (LCD), offer modest power consumption but low-contrast images. Backlighting methods, which put the LED at the back of the display, produce high-contrast images but consume more power.

The screen brightness produced by the new technology could rival that of notebook computers, the company said.

The growth in camera-equipped mobile phones, handheld PCs, digital cameras and video-image transmission has generated demand for brighter and clearer LCD screens.