Monochrome LCDs getting a bit OLED

Developers say a bright large-size full-color OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display is still some way away from commercialization, but in some areas, OLED displays -- also called OELDs (organic electroluminescent displays) -- are already replacing LCDs (liquid crystal displays). At Ceatec Japan, which opened on Tuesday at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, some vendors showed what current OLED technologies are capable of.

OLED displays use organic compounds that emit light when exposed to an electric current. They are brighter and have better contrast with wider viewing angles than LCDs. Since OLEDs can eliminate the need for the backlight required by LCDs, their panels can be made thinner. This feature is expected to be adapted to applications like flat-panel televisions.

Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd, one of the leading OLED developers, believes full-color OLEDs will become the mainstream display technology in the future, said Kiichi Hirano, chief planner of OLED Display Project at Sanyo.

The company unveiled a 15-inch (37.5-centimeter) 260,000-color active matrix OLED television prototype at Ceatec, although its commercialization is still not expected for at least another two to three years.

The biggest hurdle is the short lifespan of OLED displays. They are suitable for use in mobile phones but do not yet have the lifespan expected for home appliances like televisions, which tend to be in near-constant use.

Although OLEDs do not require a power consuming backlight, OLEDs still consume around the same power or slightly less than LCDs with the backlight, said Kiyoshi Matsuda, sales and marketing manager of OEL (Organic Electroluminescent) Division at Tohoku Pioneer Corp.

Sanyo plans to mass produce 2.2-inch and 2.16-inch full-color OLEDs for mobile phones for the Japanese market this year, because they have faster response times which makes video playback clearer, and are thus suitable for 3G (third-generation) phones.

On the other hand, the area-color OLED displays, which can display five colors, have a simpler structure and the technology is more mature than the active-matrix type, so that they have already been commercialized. Tohoku Pioneer, the leading company in passive-matrix OLEDs, have put single color or passive-matrix area-color OLED displays in devices such as clamshell-type cell phones, for the small window display at the back, as well as in car stereos and DVD players, which used to have monochrome LCDs.

"Passive-matrix (area-color) OLEDs are for applications that do not require a full-color display," said Hiroshi Maehara, sales and marketing manager of Tohoku Pioneer. "Look at this contrast and wide viewing angles and compare them with the existing monochrome LCDs used for things like DVD player display windows. There are still many such applications which use monochrome displays in the market."

The company has developed 10 different area-color displays since 1999 and suggests OLEDs could be also used for interior signs in airplanes, on refrigerators, wrist watches, MD (MiniDisc) players, and wearable safety signs attached to vests or helmets.

Ceatec Japan will continue until Friday.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kuriko Miyake

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?