Making the Case for Transparent OLED Displays
Published: October 20, 2014 Category:

Transparent displays have been around for a very long time in the form of heads-up displays (HUDs) in aircraft and (to a limited extent) in retail displays, markets seen as too tiny by the large display makers and largely left to smaller firms and niche technologies. In the past two or three years, however, NanoMarkets notes that transparent display technology has been edging towards the mainstream, thanks to both a push from the supply side and a pull from the demand side:

  • Keenly aware of the maturing liquid-crystal display (LCD) market's slowing growth trajectory, display makers are desperate to add new kinds of functionalities, even if it means pursuing and adopting another technology with higher-growth promise.
  • New trends in consumer electronics, including the widening category of wearable computing devices, seem to call out for transparent displays. Companies jostling for position include all the well-known consumer electronics firms (Samsung, LG, Sony, Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) and suppliers would be foolhardy to ignore any potential market that includes them.

Transparency should be seen as one of a number of ways that the display industry is attempting to add dramatic new kinds of functionality to displays, alongside the addition of touch control and flexible substrates. Considerable progress has been made in each of these areas, though a truly transparent, flexible touch-screen display is a long way off due to various technical reasons and a lack of mature end-markets demanding the capability right now.

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