Sharp has developed a new LCD which enables the LCD to be switched between a wide viewing angle and narrow viewing angle by means of an electrical ON/OFF switching action. This feature will allow users to view email and other private information in public on portable devices such as mobile phones and notebook PCs, yet prevents people nearby from seeing what is being displayed on the LCD screen. Sharp will begin mass production of this display beginning in July 2005."
As the ubiquitous network society fast becomes a reality, information can be readily accessed in nearly any setting using personal information terminals such as mobile phones, notebook PCs, and PDAs. At the same time, there is an increasing need to provide such portable devices, which are frequently used to handle private information/data, with the capability to "veil" the display so that the screen content cannot be seen by other people in the immediate area.
The new LCD adds proprietary technologies, such as a switching liquid crystal material overlaid on an ordinary TFT LCD so that light is prevented from going to the left or right, thus turning a wide viewing angle to a narrow viewing angle. This will allow people to use mobile devices with peace of mind, since they can change the viewing angle setting depending on the personal nature of the content they are viewing.
This display is ideal for applications such as in notebook PCs used for travel where the user does not want the information on the display screen to be visible to seatmates. In ATM terminals, as another example, the narrow-viewing-angle mode could be used while the user enters a PIN number, then switched to wide-viewing-angle mode to display advertising when the ATM is not in use.
With today's emphasis on safe handling of confidential and personal information, the switchable LCD is expected to offer significant advantages in mobile applications where security is a factor.