Whenever a new smartphone or tablet gets launched, one of the key selling points is always how thin it is. So focused are we on such devices getting thinner that there was some surprise when the new iPad turned out to be slightly thicker than the iPad 2.Japanese company NanoOpto has developed a new touchscreen solution that could potentially lead to a record being set for how thin a phone, tablet, or any display-carrying device can be for that matter. Typically a touchscreen is made up of three parts: the cover glass, touch panel, and LCD panel. What NanoOpto has managed to do is integrate the touch panel directly into the cover glass, therefore removing the thickness of one layer. That translates into a touchscreen 0.5mm thinner, and some 40% lighter than a typical 3-layer solution.0.5mm isn’t a huge saving, but when you consider its use could cut the thickness of a phone like the Droid Razr to below 7mm (6.7mm in fact), you see the potential for such a screen to create a new breed of super-slim handsets.NanoOpto managed to integrate the touch panel by developing a new “sheet process” when manufacturing the glass substrate. The company used a chemical strengthening process that leaves the glass covered in “external patterns and sensor electrodes.” They are calling the new displays the All-in-one Touch Panel.The touchscreen glass has a yield ratio above 90% and a strength rating of 800MPa. NanoOpto has been experimenting with the creation of 4.3-inch displays using this new technique and hopes to start volume production by August this year. That means we could see the thinner displays inside new smartphones and tablets before the end of the year.Read more at Tech-On!