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Japan Display Shows Off 'Innovation Vehicles:' Incredibly Thin Smartphones, Tablets And More

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DigInfo TV

If you thought the iPhone 5 was ridiculously slender, then you won't believe the specs on three recently unveiled prototypes from Japan Display.

The Japanese company has produced unbelievably slim mock-ups of a 5-inch smartphone display and a 7-inch tablet display, dubbed "Innovation Vehicles." They measure 1 to 1.5 millimeters in boarder thickness, respectively. That would be like owning a mobile phone with a display thinner than a U.S. dime.

Japan Display -- a firm that is the result of a merger between the small- and medium-sized display units of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi -- has also created a curved 12.2-inch, 1920-by-720-pixel display screen with rounded edges that will supposedly be used as a tech-savvy dashboard in vehicles. (Forget smartphones. We're ready for "smartcars.")

Check out the video below to see examples of these futuristic devices in action:

But how are these phone and tablet displays so incredibly thin? According to the Tokyo-based news site DigInfo TV, integrating the screen's touch panel right into the display eliminated a large part of the bulk.

"[T]he touch-panel is built in, rather than being attached from outside. The structure becomes simple, so it's easy to make the display thin," group manager Kazunori Yamaguchi states in the DigInfo video. "Such a thin display is very sensitive, so we've utilized that to enable writing with a pen. Currently, finger operation is the norm, but we'd like to provide a pen-drawing solution next."

The gadgets also use white pixels in addition to the traditional red, green and blue pixels in order to reduce about 40 percent of power consumption. Sony's website states that "by combining this sophisticated new hardware with advanced algorithms," the display upgrade will allow users to easily peer at their devices in sunlight.

The MIT Technology Review called Japan Display's products "exciting," and expects the prototypes to be "mass-produced within the next year or so." The company launched in April 2012.

[h/t Reddit]

Correction: This article has been modified to clarify that the display of the smartphone and tablet prototypes, not potential smartphones or tablets as a whole, are 1 to 1.5 millimeters thick.

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