Samsung is prepping to replace the indium tin oxide touch panels with metal mesh ones, Korean media is reporting. Not only will this make them cheaper to produce, but also help with the supply and demand issues of high-res tablet panels and, eventually, smartphones.
Furthermore, with the metal mesh displays, Samsung will also be laying the groundwork for flexible display panels to become more prolific in the future, as those can bend, and also pave the way for pen stylus that doesn't need a digitizer embedded in the touchscreen, which would certainly find its way into the Note device line.
By replacing the rare indium in touchscreens with the metal mesh, which is basically a grid patterned on the display, and coated with the much more widespread silver or copper, Samsung is planning to lower production prices 20 to 30% on those panels, too, but whether or not this will lead to cheaper tablets or phones, remains to be seen. For now, we are fine with the switch opening the door to flexible screens and digitizer-less devices with stylus functionality.
LG Innotek also demonstrated Metal Mesh touch panels last month, which cost a third of the traditional ones using indium, have much less bezel and 30% more touch sensitivity than the ones used now, so the Koreans seem to be again at the forefront of mobile screen technology.