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Notebook panel specs rising along with robust demand

Robust demand for notebooks, fueled by work-from-home activities, is expected to stretch into fourth-quarter 2020, with panel specifications being upgraded, according to industry sources.

Along with the increasing popularity of bezel-less models, more notebook vendors are planning to roll out machines with screens featuring an aspect ratio of 16:10, instead of the current mainstream 16:9.

The development toward 16:10 screens has accelerated after Lenovo reported strong sales for its recently released Xiaoxi Pro 13 2020, which comes with a 16:10 display, said the sources, adding that more models with 16:10 screen design will hit the market in 2021.

As the production cost for 16:10 displays is higher than that for 16:9 design, some panel makers may be reluctant to receive such orders, though China's panel makers including China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) and Tianma Microelectronics have been keen on developing such screens, the sources said.

Notebooks featuring such displays are considered high-end products, with 13.x-, 14.x- and 16-inch being mainstream sizes currently, said the sources, noting that those models mostly feature resolutions of 2K (1920 by 1080 pixels) and above.

For gaming notebook panels, some panel makers are developing QHD 165Hz displays with a 16:10 aspect ratio compared to current mainstream 16:9 FHD displays at 120/144/204+ Hz, paving the way for the rollouts of 16:10 gaming notebooks in 2021, said the sources.

Global shipments of 16:10 notebook panels are forecast to total four million units in 2020 for a penetration rate of 2.3%, with the shipments likely to ramp up to nine million units for 4.8% in 2021, according to Sigmaintell Consulting.