Perspectives

I stated in my last post that the industry is going to go through yet another display ratio change over the next year or so. For years we've had 4:3 "square" displays. These have all but disappeared from the market as the current standard is 16:10 "wide." The industry is about to move yet again to true 16:9 wide. This means that the ratio of your PC display will match that of your HDTV. This change won't happen overnight, but will phase in gradually. In fact, it's already started. Many of the newest consumer notebooks, especially in the 15" class now sport the more rectangular 16:9 display. If you pay attention to this sort of thing, then you'll notice that your display gets shorter yet again vertically. For manufacturers, this makes it easier to put full size keyboards inside their notebooks (though most won't). Again, we can thank the LCD manufacturers for this change. By cutting everything in the same aspect ratio, they have less waste per large sheet of glass. Since these manufacturers make more selling TV displays than laptop displays, the PC vendors have almost zero say in this change. We simply have to adapt. As much as I would like it to be so, 4:3 is not coming back. I've seen and remember some readers' comments when I've talked about displays before. Yes, it would sound nice to be vertically integrated and run our own LCD factory, but this is impractical and not cost efficient. If you run one of these factories, it is not just about making LCDs. You also have to spend LOTS of money on ongoing research, development, and very costly capital equipment. And for all of your efforts, you often run with negative margins. It's great for the consumer, but a PC manufacturer making a large investment in LCD manufacturing is highly unlikely. For readers of this blog, yes, I had our team run the math. In order to provide a high end IPS display option, we'd need well over 15,000 confirmed orders to make it even worth considering. This is due to minimum order quantities, creating models, stocking replacement parts for years to come, etc. If someone enterprising wants to create a database of (legitimate) credit card numbers of confirmed, non-cancellable orders, I'm sure that it would get some attention around here. (For you legal types, this does not constitute an offer to sell.) I'm tired of losing vertical space, and I am about to make a drastic change to the way I run Windows. Starting later this year when I run Windows 7, I'm going to start positioning my Task Bar on the left hand side of my screen. This will give me back some VERY needed space. (If only I could reverse the order so that the START button remained in the lower left hand side instead of the top left... Are you listening, Microsoft?) 

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