IBM crams 9.2M pixels onto new 22-inch LCD screen

IBM has launched what it calls the world's highest-resolution flat-panel monitor, the IBM T220. With 200 pixels per inch, totaling 9.2 million pixels, the 22.2-inch screen shows 12 times more detail than current monitors, IBM said Wednesday.

The LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor is being aimed at such industries as science, banking, engineering, publishing and medicine with screen images that are as clear as an original photograph, said IBM spokesman Matthew McMahon. The T220 also has the ability to show several high definition TV channels at the same time, IBM said.

The IBM is available on a limited basis this month at a starting price of US$22,000, and will be widely available after full scale production begins in the third quarter, IBM said.

"We're going to sell the monitor to anyone who calls us for it, so it's not 'limited' in that way. It does run on Windows 2000, but there are some specifications, for example, the drivers have to be configured depending on what applications you're running," McMahon said.

Increased competition and slumping demand have increased pressures on manufacturers throughout the LCD sector and IBM has become increasingly aggressive in the sector, trying to beat out competitors such as Toshiba, Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV and Sharp.

At the CeBIT trade show in Germany last March, IBM demonstrated the T220, then code-named Bertha, while Toshiba showed off its newest LCD monitor with a 20.8-inch screen.

Capable of 3,200-by-2,400 pixel QUXGA (Quad Ultra Extended Graphics Array) resolution, Toshiba is targeting the professional market when it begins selling the monitor worldwide in the third quarter of this year. But its LCD screen has 7.7 million pixels as compared with IBM's 9.2 million, though McMahon did say IBM considers the Toshiba screen to be the closest competition to the T220.

"Over the next few years we hope to get the T220 into the consumer sphere. But more importantly, the technologies used in the T220 will trickle down to the more consumer-oriented LCD screens, so you'll see that before a consumer version of T220 reaches the market," McMahon said.