Size doesn’t matter? Sure, everyone knows that’s a lie. Bigger is always better and despite the shrinkage of the iPad just look at the mobile phone market. Screens are getting larger as consumers gravitate to mobile use rather than sitting in front of their desktop computers. Bigger is the target the electronic manufacturers are targeting and consumers are quick to hand over their money for a few more inches.
Okay. So that paragraph reads like a Seinfeld innuendo script but you know you want it and you want it BIG! Holy shnikies, there’s no way to escape the innuendo. Let’s get to the technology and hope the descriptors leave dirty thoughts in the dust. The dirty, dirty dust.
Flexible screens have been around for at least a decade, if not longer… I mean more. The old holographic screens from the 1970s were a unique use of flexible screens and technology and even back then, people envisioned their use for television and movies but the resolution was not good. Still, it was a vision of the future. Like the flat tablets the astronauts used to view the news in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the iPad became a reality, the new flexible screens hold a world of possibilities. Several years ago, the technology was known as “E Ink.”
Officially know as “Flexible-Display Screens” (FDS), Samsung and Hewlett-Packard are jumping on the technology for phones and computers. Naturally, all others will follow once the ice is broken with consumers and the bugs are worked out. The pliable, plastic will soon be the next generation of computer screens, promising wafer thin laptops and desktop monitors. The thirty-six pound laptop of a decade ago will now come in at mere ounces and since the plastic is foldable and bendable, there will be size restrictions limited only by the space around the user.
Televisions will soon be wall-sized and this wonder material will allow for everyday objects to take advantage of the technology. Coffee mugs, backpacks, clothing items and literally any surface can become a visual conduit.
Walkways can display directions for walkers, displays embedded in roadways will make billboards obsolete, the sides of buildings can become advertisements and you could even change the color or pattern of your home/apartment walls with a touch of a button and pre-programmed swatches. Even your car could change body colors at just a whim… if you remember where you parked your blue car… no red… no…
There was one commercial attempt several years ago. Philips Electronics spinoff, Polymer Vision, promoted its flexible eReader for years but declared bankruptcy before bringing the device to market. Was it the wrong thing at the wrong time? Perhaps or just the wrong marketing. Now consumer electronic experts say the technology still likely won’t take hold until 2015 but expect more products to be introduced over the next two years while the technology becomes common place within ten years.
“Consumers would love to bend or fold devices,” says Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at market researcher IDC. “Rather than carry a phone and tablet, you could unfold a large screen from your phone.”
“This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices, opening up new lifestyle possibilities … and allow our partners to create a whole new ecosystem of devices,” Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of display at Samsung said in a news release.
It also rumored that Apple will feature a larger display in next generation iPhone, which will be actually a flexible display (the iPhone 5S/6?).
In fact, most planned applications for mobile phones will include fold-out screens or screens that roll into the phone and are pulled out like a window shade. Larger, wall-sized TV screens may roll down and up, out of sight, rather than be affixed to walls, keeping the screen fresh and clean.
A new world of wondrous things are about to hit consumers and businesses over the next two years. The time to start planning how you will use this technology is yesterday but with a little extra planning, you can catch up with those who have already entered the retina display race and be ready for the next step.
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