Breakthrough for cellphone standby life

Toshiba America Electronic Components yesterday claimed to have developed a breakthrough display technology that could extend the standby life of cellular phones by as much as 23%.

Toshiba America Electronic Components yesterday claimed to have developed a breakthrough display technology that could extend the standby life of cellular phones by as much as 23%.

In simple terms, the technology integrates a few SRAM (static random access memory) cells into each pixel of a phone's LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen, allowing the pixels to store small amounts of information.

This reduces the amount of power needed to operate the display, which in turn extends battery life, Toshiba said.

The company hopes to start manufacturing LCD screens using the new technology in the third quarter of 2001, which means that the technology could find its way into mobile telephones by the end of next year, Toshiba officials said.

"Until we get into mass production there's always something that could crop up, but at the moment everything looks very good," said Mike Blashe, a manager with Toshiba.

The technology could benefit just about any type of battery-operated device that has a static display, Blashe said.

Toshiba will initially apply the technology to 5.3-centimetre diagonal (2.1-inch) cellular phone displays, and later to larger-screen LCDs.

The company said it has already developed a 5.3 centimetre poly-silicon TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD that includes the SRAM technology.

The technology works well for devices that have static images and where standby mode is frequently used. It doesn't benefit devices that play video, Blashe said, because during video playback the pixels on the screen all change constantly.

The upshot is that power consumption of the LCD in standby mode is cut by approximately 50%, to lower than 1.4 milliwatts when displaying still pictures with eight colours, while overall standby time for cellular phones is raised by 23%, from 350 to 430 hours based on a typical battery, Toshiba said

Toshiba America Electronic Components is the North American engineering, manufacturing, marketing and sales arm of Toshiba Semiconductor and Toshiba Display Devices and Components.

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