Digital Display Innovation: Touch-friendly OLED Displays Prove Durable, Flexible and Paper-thin

What is OLED?

OLED is expected to replace LCD and Plasma display technology. In basic terms, an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) gets its name from enhanced organic materials that glow in response to electrical currents. Pioneered by Kodak in the late 1980s, OLED technology and its practical applications have generated more than 1,700 issued and pending Kodak patents worldwide. Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of OLED displays.

Digital display technology has reached an inflection point. Price, proven reliability and an advanced feature set now justify extreme growth in the adoption rate of OLED technology among mobile device manufacturers and device innovators.

Why is this big news for mobile enthusiasts, innovators and consumers? The list of features and benefits are hefty and the number of applications are endless. OLED displays are:

  • Ultra thin. Some OLED measure a depth of only  0.2 mm or 0.0079 in inches.
  • Flexible, can be rolled and bent like film
  • Lightweight
  • Switches on/off very fast
  • Very bright, bold and crisp colors
  • Higher contrast ratio than LCD
  • Cool to the touch
  • Relative to CRT, LCD and plasma, less expensive to manufacture and ship
  • No backlight needed
  • Durable (see hammer, hole punch and cutting tests)
  • Extremely power efficient
  • Smoother full-motion effects when compared to LCD
  • 170 degree viewing nearly every angle, with no distortion from the side
  • Transparent (optional)
  • Multi-touch (optional)

This video provides valuable insight to the technology:

What concepts are being floated to take advantage of OLED? Here’s a laptop-esque  gadget prototype called the RollTop that demonstrates features such as an OLED keyboard, rollup portability, writing tablet and high-quality presentation display.

Sony’s in the forefront of OLED innovation. Check out their revolutionary Sony Walkman bracelet and computer laptop concepts:

To what extent do devices already use OLED technology? Click on the device type below to see’s growing list:

I fully expect  Apple’s next generation iPhone and rumored Tablet to include OLED in the near future.

Which industries will benefit from OLED technology in the near term?

  • Consumer electronics.
    • Slimmer, lighter display designs for eBook readers, TVs, cameras, iPods, mobile phones and other gadgets.
  • Home and office environments.
    • Specialty lighting.  Area source lighting with tunable color is a major breakthrough.
    • Wallpaper with tunable, conditional color.
    • Privacy shading.
  • Automotive, particularly in head-up transparent OLED displays.
  • Wearable fashion. This is an interesting category. See Sony’s video above regarding the OLED bracelet.
  • Advertising in the form of embedded wi-fi connected displays.

So, what’s next? Well, self-powered OLED is in the works. Power Paper’s paper-thin, flexible batteries create even more possibilities. Read more about the collaboration between GE and Power Paper. In addition, Universal Display Corporation, headquartered in the US, is a leading developer of OLED technology.

What are your predictions?

Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.


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