Dell Inc. is switching to mercury-free light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, to illuminate laptop screens starting in mid-December, a move aimed making the computers softer on the environment and easier to recycle.
Dell said the LED displays consume less energy (43 percent less for 15-inch screens) than ones lit with CCFL — cold cathode fluorescent lamps — the technology that is standard in Dell's existing notebook computers.
The laptops shipping in December with LED screens represent about two-thirds of Dell's notebook sales, and include Latitude E models and two Precision mobile workstation models.
The Round Rock, Texas-based company said LED backlit displays will be standard in at least 80 percent of the laptops it sells by the end of 2009 and in all its notebooks by the end of 2010.
Dell's promise to use only LED displays in two years one-ups Apple Inc.'s 2007 commitment to get rid of the less-expensive fluorescent displays "eventually." Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple uses LEDs in its MacBook Air, its 15-inch MacBook and one configuration of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, plus all iPods and iPhones.
Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's largest PC maker, also has begun selling optional LED-backlit screens on some of its laptop and tablet computers.