Samsung and LG are both working on a big change to their touch panels, that will reduce the cost of the panels by 30% (especially for flexible displays). They intend to replace the indium tin oxide touch panels with metal mesh ones. This has several other benefits besides the much lower cost, too, such as making it easier to make high-resolution displays and to make more of them (higher supply).
One of the most interesting benefits will be that they won’t need digitizers inside the touchscreens anymore, which could also reduce the costs of Samsung’s Note series devices, because touchscreens with embedded digitizers tend to cost significantly more. Samsung usually adds about an extra $100 to the retail price of the Note devices compared to the what a device with the same specs but without the pen and digitizer would cost. However, about half of that extra $100 should be for the pen itself, not just the digitizer.
Nvidia has shown us that we can have cheap tablets with styluses that are almost as great as the Wacom pens Samsung uses, without needing expensive extra technologies. These new metal mesh touch panels should make it much easier for both Samsung and LG, and even other OEM’s using this type of touchscreen, to create devices that have great pen support, at all price ranges, not just the high-end. So expect a lot more pen-ready tablets and smartphones to arrive on the market in the coming years.
According to LG, the metal mesh touchscreens should also have 30 percent higher touch sensitivity, and coupled with KitKat (that also brought improved touch sensitivity in software), Android devices should finally have touch sensitivity that may even be better than what iOS devices have (unless they’ll use the same touchscreen technology, in which case it should be about the same – which is to say very good).
Samsung intends to complete the reliability test by the end of the year, and make available a tablet using such technology in the first half of next year. That could be the Galaxy Note 8.0 2014 Edition, and we should also see it in the Galaxy Note 10.1 2015 Edition and Galaxy Note 4.