The shape of smartphone screens, on which you can enjoy movies and dramas, is no longer a square box. It doesn’t break even if you twist or bend it. And you can now just pick it up and carry it. Display technology, which expresses data in visual images, has been steadily evolving.
A senior official from LG Display said on March 23, “The development of display technology that creates a virtual space on glass is already completed, and even a promotional prototype is available. However, it will take time until the product becomes commercialized due to mass production according to demand and stable supply.”
LG Display and Samsung Display, two leading companies in the global display market, have a 50 percent worldwide market share. To keep that share, they are both working on two types of new technologies that will offer new experiences to users – transparent displays and flexible displays.
Transparent displays can create a picture that you can see when looking through glass. Currently, this technology is partially used in commercial aircraft, fighter planes, and billboards. They are also being used for heads-up displays that present vehicle driving information on the glass in front of a driver in luxury sedans built by Hyundai Motor, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
The technology was also being used in refrigerators. Transparent refrigerators allowed consumers to see inside and look at advertisements at the same time. However, they failed to be commercialized due to lukewarm responses from housewives, which were the main target of the product. Nevertheless, transparent refrigerators are expected to create demand for business use, including in convenience stores, in the future.
The other promising field is flexible displays. It is a paper-like display that produces the same picture quality even if users bend it. The core of the technology is to display objects as accurately as possible and maximize portability by making it as light as possible.
The stages of evolution in flexible display technology have been defined as curved, bended, foldable, and rollable. LG's G Flex 2 and Samsung's curved edge displays, which can bend up and down and side to side, are between the first and second stages.
An official from Samsung Display said, “The industry believes that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016.”
Flexible displays have been mainly used in mobile devices, such as cellphones and wearable devices, so far. However, the technology will be expanded to the entire IT industry, including laptops and monitors, when the technology can be used in large areas in the future.
An official from the industry said, “When flexible display technology is being used in e-books and laptops, which are substituted for publications, the concept of tiny portable PCs and e-books will be realized in reality.”