For over a year, LED-backlit displays have made it to a limited number of laptop models, usually those more expensive desktop replacements 15" inches and under, and ultra-portables like the Sony TZ and most recently the Apple MacBook Air. Research firm iSupply is now ready to state the obvious, LEDs are set to become the next big thing on mobile displays.

With an apparent stagnation on battery-related technological advances, multiple efforts from chip makers have been made to increase power at little or no cost of performance, and results have been quite decent so far. After all, we can now run a speedy dual-core Intel CPU on our laptops without being punished as harshly as we did on the days of the awful Pentium 4 mobile.

Laptop screens are yet another critical component that drains battery power, and LEDs offer improved power consumption, a thinner form factor and light weight. So then the question becomes 'when', given LED's steeper price. iSuppli estimates that by 2012, 90 percent of shipping laptops with screens over 10" will employ LEDs to backlight their displays, compare that to a pale 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007.

As for the short term, the firm still expects a six-fold jump during this year with LED-backlit notebook PC panel shipments surging to 17.4 million units, from just 2.8 million units in 2007.