IBM on Friday rolled out what it believes is the industry's clearest computer display, saying it is 12 times sharper than existing displays, or about 4.5 times clearer than HDTV.
IBM intends to target the display at a wide range of markets, all of which require very high-resolution images. These markets include telemedicine, weather forecasting, publishing and graphics design, and satellite mapping.
Company officials believe the technology could make its way into displays for laptops, desktops, and handhelds, and that it could drastically improve the experience of watching video on those devices. They declined to say however, exactly when that would be.
The first units will be shipped to Lawrence Livermore Labs for the Department of Energy's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) program. These units will be used in concert with IBM's ASCI White supercomputer, which the company recently heralded as the fastest performing supercomputer to date.
At Livermore the displays will be used to examine the operation and aging of nuclear weapons using 3-D model simulations to be crunched by ASCI White, according to a company spokesman.
IBM plans to ship the displays to other customers beginning in 2001 and to license the technology, which Big Blue has patented, to other manufacturers.
"When IBM showed a prototype of this in 1998, many thought it wouldn't be ready for mass production until 2010," said Ross Young, president of Display Search, an Austin, Texas-based research firm in a prepared statement. "But I think this technology will change the way computers are used in a wide range of areas where high-resolution areas are required."
The unit is capable of displaying 200 pixels per inch and more than 9 million pixels on a 22-inch screen. In most cases, the display is as clear as an original photograph, according to IBM.
IBM worked on the technology in both its Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Yamato, Japan labs.
For more information on the new display users can go to www.research.ibm.com.