We are often asked to explain the difference between an LCD Module and an LCD Cell. These terminologies are sometimes misused, misinterpreted and often go unexplained leaving clients confused.
Simply stated, an LCD Cell is a component within an LCD module
It happens to be the most important component that defines image quality and performance!
You wouldn't typically purchase just an LCD Cell for your application. Cells are built into modules which are sold as "standard" products by LCD module makers, Cells are also used in semi-custom LCD module designs by display solution providers.
Either way, every LCD module has an LCD cell inside of it !
Aside from clarifying the terminologies, understanding the purpose of an LCD cell also helps support the value of working with a partner with a "build from cell" model....especially in volatile material market conditions as they are today.
It's typical to find common mechanical and optical features across multiple LCD cells in any given size. For example, designing around a base 4.3" 800x480 resolution LCD cell with an IPS wide viewing cone and building an LCD module from there can yield:
A de-risked supply chain with multiple qualified LCD cells
Easily customized optical features; you get exactly what you require
Choice of interface standards like LVDS, RGB, MIPI
Customized connectivity like FPC routing, connector types and location
Low costs by using existing materials and components, without having to recoup large engineering and tooling expenses, building to spec and on demand
Take this approach into mid-large size display platforms and we start to see the possibility of "industrializing" consumer based LCD platforms. Typically OEM's steer clear of such LCD Modules due to their short availability and often undesirable optical specifications but we are all lured in by amazing low pricing!
Building a 15.6" 1920x1080 semi-custom module from a common cell platform using these strategies can result in a low cost, well supported optically robust LCD module solution