Now Samsung's jumping into the transparent screen scene with a 19" display unveiled to the public this week in Seattle. Successor to the company's 14" notebook screen demoed at CES this past January, Samsung says the technology can reach a transparency of 30% while still having superb color reproduction. The company even combined four smaller panels together to create an AMOLED window, demonstrating how far the technology has come towards usability.
With this in mind, there are some excellent applications of the technology that companies like Samsung already have in mind. Their AMOLED window, for example, could be installed in houses and take the place of traditional weather widgets or thermostats, displaying up-to-date, glanceable information. Similarly, the company is exploring uses for the technology in cars for heads-up displays, as we've seen demoed in the past. This is very much the holy grail for transparent screen technologies, and could very easily move our entire dashboards to a digital display.
In terms of personal devices, there are obviously some scenarios where the screen would be unsuitable. Graphic designers or video editors would no doubt be dissatisfied with the poor contrast or color fidelity of a transparent screen; external lighting, or even an object placed behind the screen could make color-sensitive work all but impossible. Even viewing movies or television might be uncomfortable compared to a traditional, solid-screened device.
already released a phone in their XPERIA line that touts a 1.6" transparent screen, perfect for simple tasks such as scrolling through contacts or placing phone calls. While the device itself is really just a dumbphone, its abilities could be far more practical on an app-driven smartphone. But then there are the caveats to the technology.
Designing a device with a transparent screen, while cool, effectively means all the components usually stored beneath the phone face must be moved away from the screen. Giant, 4" touch-screen phones as we know them today simply won't be possible in the next few years, as there's simply too many components to load into the bottom or side of a device. It's for this reason that laptops and windows are all the rage, at least for now — the components are easy to hide.
same problems. While power consumption can often be 60-80% that of a conventional LCD, displaying white-heavy images can actually use *more* power. More so, many AMOLED screens still suffer from poor performance when exposed to sunlight, a factor that would have to be improved were the technology to be incorporated into everyday devices.
However, there's clearly a market for such technology, but the question is where. Case in point, GM wants to work on augmented reality windshields, and now Samsung has the technology to do it. There's no doubt other similar scenarios where transparent AMOLED screens could just be the solution to a troublesome problem — all that remains is to see where those needs lie.