Backed by a US$100 million dollar investment from Apple, Samsung has revamped their production facilities to more efficiently produce flat panel computer displays. According to a Macworld UK article, the new production facilities will be able to produce displays at either 14.1", 17", or 21.3". The top and bottom end of those figures coinside with Appleis PowerBook display size and their Cinema Display (roughly), but Apple currently has no 17" flat panel display on the market.
Pre-MACWORLD rumours hinted at the release of an 18" display, a little brother to the mamoth, and mamothly priced, 22" Cinema Display. Those rumors never bore fruit, and we saw a 15" flat display instead. However, as flat panel displays become more the craze, and as production processes become more cost efficient, one would expect a mid-sized display aimed squarely at the consumer market.
Apparently the cost cutting steps involve using larger pieces of glass, thus allowing more displays to be cut at one time. According to the Macworld article:
Being able to use larger glass substrates means more panels can be produced from each sheet of glass and so production becomes more efficient. Until now, the companyis most advanced production line used glass sheets 600-x- 700mm ? between third- and fourth-generation production technology.
Samsung say its new production line can turn out 270,000 14.1-inch TFT-LCD panels per month and this will be doubled to 540,000 panels in 2001. Total capacity at Samsung will now reach up to 1.2 million panels per month.
The revamped production facility, the significant financial investement, and the near exact match of the production facilityis capabilities with Appleis current and rumored product lines suggests that Apple chose wisely when they made their investment last year.