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Narrow bezels? Now you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Because the PC market is highly – some would say brutally – competitive, major brand name players are constantly looking for new features to trigger a new upgrade cycle. The most familiar technologies that drive upgrades are a new version of Windows or a new processor from Intel, but other technologies can also have an impact. Recent examples include Microsoft Pen or Apple Pencil, or the entire category of 2-in-1 and convertible computers like Microsoft Surface or Lenovo Yoga.

A new feature that has captured the imagination of multiple PC makers is to make the bezel—the strip of material between the viewable part of the display and the edge of the device—of new high-end and even mainstream computers as thin as possible. The tricky part is that shrinking this bezel area makes it much more difficult to include touch sensor circuitry.

Luckily, PC makers no longer have to choose one technology over the other.

These days, your bezel can’t be too thin…

In older PCs (like, you know, from 2015) and even in today’s mainstream devices, the bezel is usually a piece of plastic that sits on top of the edge of the display. But in newer high-end PCs, this raised plastic bezel is often replaced by a flat bezel that sits flush with the display. While new “flush bezel” devices are all well and good, makers of displays, driven by their brand name PC customers, appear to be pushing the envelope even farther by also making the bezel as thin as possible.

Why are they doing this? Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy, writing for Forbes, puts it nicely when discussing the Dell XPS15: “Their Infinity Edge Display, which literally has no bezel and is based on IGZO technology, didn’t even exist a few years ago. It was literally a joint development between Dell and Sharp. The benefit of this display is that you can make a notebook very narrow. In the same space you could put a 13” or 14” notebook before, the Infinity Edge enabled a 15” display notebook. It also looked really futuristic, like one would expect way out in the future.”

15.6″ laptop with standard bezel
Dell XPS15 with Infinity Edge Display

…As long as you can still incorporate touch sensing.

In many cases a higher-end PC—especially one with Windows 10—will also feature a touch screen, and so will need a touch sensor of some type. But the circuitry that relays a user’s touch from the sensor overlaid on top of the display to the main circuit board of the computer must also fit within the bezel area of the display. As PC makers and display vendors drive to shrink this bezel area, it becomes more and more difficult for all of the sensor circuitry to fit in this ever-narrowing area.

Except for—you guessed it—UniPixel’s metal mesh touch sensor.

UniPixel’s sensor is able to squeeze into these up-and-coming narrow bezels because the material properties and unique design of the sensor allow it to use 50% less circuitry in the bezel area than other comparable sensors. So the thinner the display bezel, the more of an opportunity for UniPixel’s metal mesh touch sensors. So for us, thin is truly in!

And that means PC makers and consumers can have their narrow bezel and touch screen, too.

As previously announced, we are hosting a suite at CES 2017 this week for meetings with customers and prospects, technology and supply chain partners, and industry analysts involved in multiple aspects of the display and touch screens industries. And you can bet we’ll be singing the praises of narrow borders to anyone and everyone who’ll listen!

admin Vice President of Marketing

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