According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Microsoft is working with component suppliers in Asia to test its own smartphone design. Considering that Microsoft just entered the tablet market last week, a direct move into the smartphone business would be their logical next move. In order to understand what direction to take their operating system and cloud based services in the future, Microsoft has to have their hardware teams deeply involved with next generation mobile devices just as Apple does today. This has long been Apple's secret sauce in this new smart device era. Microsoft's smartphone delay may have been due to a new development that came to light today. It's one that may help Microsoft better compete with the new iPhone 5 and beyond.
Microsoft Considers a Surface Smartphone
One of the key technologies that Apple introduced with the debut of the iPhone 5 back in September was Integrated Touch. That technology first came to the surface in one of Apple's patents that we covered in a December 2010 report.
In context with today's report, a new revelation came to light from the Nikkei Business Publications' TechOn website. They're new report covered a company by the named of Japan Display who started mass production of two new glass related products that will be able to compete with Apple's iPhone 5 integrated touch displays that Schiller was so thrilled to announce.
The first product is simply called "cover glass-integrated touch panel" which they describe as being "made by forming capacitive touch sensors on the back of the cover (strengthened) glass located on the surface of a smartphone or tablet computer." The company uses Corning's "IOX-FS" strengthened glass.
Another of their products which is a direct competitor to "in-cell" technology is called "Pixel Eyes." A company spokesman for Japan Display stated that "We will provide the cover glass-integrated panel and in-cell panel in response to user requests."
If Microsoft wants to be able to match and better the technology found in today's iPhone 5, then they're going to have to use technologies such as those that came to light today from Japan Display. The timing of Japan Display's production was likely one of the reasons for delaying a Surface based smartphone. It's a technology that's a must-have on a first generation Microsoft Surface smartphone if they want it to be taken seriously. The WSJ stated that Microsoft was working with component suppliers in Asia, and it's highly likely that Japan Display is one of them.
The photo on the left presents Japan Display's 4.3-inch LCD panel combined with the cover glass-integrated touch panel while the photo on the right presents a 5-inch full-HD in-cell panel.