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LCDs hit the big screen

Mitsubishi's new, large LCD screens foreshadow next-generation "mega" notebooks due in 1997.

Mitsubishi's new, extra-large LCD screens foreshadow next-generation "mega" notebooks due in 1997.

Mitsubishi Electronics America says it has developed a 14.2-inch XGA thin-film-transistor (TFT) display that will be targeted for use in what the company calls "Mega-note" and multimedia notebook PCs that will start to appear in 1997.

Currently, the largest LCD screens for notebook PCs measure 12.1 inches diagonally. For the most part, current notebook designs cannot accommodate 14.2-inch screens. So Mitsubishi is anticipating a new breed of notebooks that use these large screens.

The new display has 1,024-by-768 pixel resolution and is equivalent in viewing area to a 15-inch desktop monitor. Mitsubishi says the display has 18-bit color and claims that it will be 30 percent brighter than desktops.

Notebooks using Mitsubishi's displays will not be cheap. Mitsubishi says the 14.2-inch display will be priced at $2,500, compared to an average of around $850 to $1,000 for 12.1-inch displays.

Notebooks shipping with top-of-the-line 12.1-inch active-matrix displays cost anywhere from $3,600 to $7,000. Many vendors, including IBM, are having trouble meeting demand for these big-screen notebooks, with shortages not expected to ease until well into 1997.

In November, CNET reported that Canon is planning on shipping a 200-MHz Pentium notebook with a 13.3-inch active-matrix display in December, although the new models will initially be available only in Japan.