Best Products of 2014

2015 SID Display Industry Awards

2015 SID Display Industry Awards

Each year, the Society for Information Display’s Display Industry Awards Committee selects six award winners that have advanced the state of the art of display products and technology in the categories of Display of the Year, Display Component of the Year, and Display Application of the Year.

Compiled by Jenny Donelan

THIS YEAR’S Display Industry Award winners are a particularly diverse group, which demonstrates just how rich the industry is in terms of technology development.  Three out of the six winners are based on OLED technology – a clear signal that recent OLED investment is bringing fruit to the commercial market.  The other three winners also show how diversity in investment is continuing.  The Display of the Year Gold Award winner, from Samsung, is a flexible AMOLED display for a smartphone.  The Display of the Year Silver winner, from LG Display, is a far larger OLED device – a 65-in. UHD television.  The third OLED-based winner is the smallest of the three – a 1.3-in. circular watch display that earned LG Display a Silver Award for Display Application of the Year.

Two of the winners are LCD related – Apple, the Display Application of the Year Gold winner, brings its Retina 5K technology to a 27-in. iMac with stunning results.  Merck KGaA, a German multinational company that’s been innovating successfully for more than three centuries (it’s the oldest chemical and pharmaceutical company in the world), has created new liquid-crystal materials that advanced the state of the art for smartphones in 2014 and will do so for tablets and monitors this year.

There always seems to be a product with unique characteristics among the six Display Industry Award winners, and this year’s is Intel’s RealSense Technology, winner of the Silver Award for Component of the Year, which combines a camera, infrared sensing components, and software to create a new level of human/computer interaction.

If there is a commonality to this year’s far-ranging roster of winners, it’s the spirit of innovation behind their development.  This spirit has led to displays beyond our wildest dreams.  Just a couple of years ago, who could have imagined a smartwatch that looked like a regular/analog watch, a desktop computer with the high resolution of a mobile display, or liquid crystals that perform so well they negate the former weaknesses of that particular material?

We owe a great deal to the companies, and the men and women who work there, who made these innovations possible.  Please join us in saluting this year’s Display Industry Award winners, the best of the best.

Display of the Year

This award is granted to a display product with the most significant technological advances or outstanding features.

Gold Award:  Samsung’s YOUM Bended Display

The YOUM Bended Display (a flexible AMOLED display) represents a major step forward for design innovation in the smartphone market, with the world’s smallest radius for screen curvature on a mobile device.  Samsung’s flexible AMOLED technology is the vanguard of the second phase in the evolution of curved displays – bended displays.  Displays will evolve from curved to bended, to foldable, and then “rollable” designs.  The company‘s state-of-the-art flexible AMOLED display, often referred to as an ‘edge’ display, is now featured on the popular Galaxy Note 4 and a newer version is now being used in the Galaxy S6 Edge, on which it curves over onto both sides, or edges, of the phone.

The 5.59-in. WGXGA (2560 × 1600 resolution) display uses a polyimide plastic substrate material to produce a film less than a millimeter thick.  That’s thinner than any other display on the market today.  Samsung has been able to deposit an electronic circuit onto the substrate and evaporate a luminant RGB organic device to realize the display’s industry-leading bendable characteristic.

The display enhances the user experience in a number of ways.  Thanks to a 6.9R curvature, it allows a consumer to easily grab onto it with just one hand and also reduces finger fatigue.  In addition, it delivers the finest image detail and the smoothest fonts available.  The YOUM Bended Display has one of the industry’s highest color reproduction rates.  It can depict 97% of Adobe RGB, while a typical LCD panel can replicate only about 70%.

Owing to its emissive OLED technology, the device features a contrast ratio of 8,000,000:1 and is capable of switching in as little as 0.01 μsec.

The era of Big Data is accelerating, and the amount of information transfer continues to explode.  Under these circumstances, information providers and growing legions of users will want to take advantage of the additional area provided by the smartphone’s edges, which previously were considered just dead space.  There is seemingly no limit to the growing number of areas of electronics in which Samsung flexible AMOLED displays can be applied.  In the future, more consumer products such as wearables and other entry devices to the Internet of Things will embrace the usefulness and attractiveness of flexible-display curvature and the vibrant, feature-rich world of AMOLED imagery.

Silver Award:  LG Display’s 65-in. UHD Curved OLED TV Panel

Following the introduction of one of the world’s first OLED TVs, a 55-in. full-HD TV in early 2013, LG Display introduced an even larger TV in 2014, the 65-in. UHD OLED TV.  For this display, LG Display utilizes WRGB OLED technology, including an oxide-TFT backplane with WRGB architecture, which the company believes is the optimal technical solution for large-sized OLED-TV panels.  In addition, LG Display’s state-of-the-art panels leverage the innate curved design abilities of OLED to provide an aesthetically pleasing TV with an optimal viewing experience.

LG Display’s 65-in. UHD OLED-TV panel is sleek and slim: a panel that is only 6 mm thick with a left and right bezel width of 8 mm.  It offers superior picture quality, achieving remarkably rich and natural colors with its UHD subpixels.  Because OLEDs are composed of self-luminous organic diodes that form each pixel, every pixel emits its own light, and color contrast is optimized.  In addition, an OLED can produce perfect blacks and an infinite contrast ratio with deeper and richer colors because there is no light leakage from a backlight.  The panel also delivers clear images with a less than 0.001-msec response time.

Users will also enjoy the more theater-like viewing experience offered by the curved screen’s wider and brighter field of view.  The IMAX-like curvature of the screen minimizes visual distortion and loss of detail.  LG Display’s curved OLED-TV panel also incorporates the company’s acclaimed FPR 3D viewing technology, which minimizes eye and body muscle strain in viewers.  The added FPR 3D film on curved OLED TVs offers better depth as well as a clearer 3D effect.

DISPLAY OF THE YEAR

Gold Award:  Samsung’s YOUM Bended Display has been incorporated into the company‘s Galaxy Note Edge 4.  The display wraps around one edge of the phone.

Silver Award:  LG Display’s 65-in. UHD curved OLED-TV panel uses WRGB OLED technology.

Display Component of the Year

This award is granted for a novel component that has significantly enhanced the performance of a display.  A component is sold as a separate part destined to be incorporated into a display.  A component may also include display-enhancing materials and/or parts fabricated with new processes.

Gold Award:  Merck KGaA’s Liquid-Crystal Materials for Ultra-Brightness FFS-LCDs

In recent years, displays for mobile electronic devices have been revolutionized, driven mostly by smartphones and tablets.  Among key trends for such devices based on LCDs are improved contrast, a very good viewing angle, high color performance, and especially ultra-high resolution.  This last trend goes hand in hand with a tendency toward more “refined” display technologies, namely, fringe-field switching (FFS).

Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, has developed liquid crystals for the next generation of displays in cooperation with industry partner LC display manufacturers.  As the latest innovative LCD technology, Ultra-Brightness FFS (UB-FFS) offers a future-oriented technology that was brought to the market in 2014 for smartphones and will be introduced in 2015 for most small, medium, and IT applications such as tablets and monitors.

In conjunction with a corresponding panel design, the innovative energy-saving UB-FFS LC mixture permits LC display light transmittance that is up to 15% higher than conventional FFS.  UB-FFS uses liquid crystals with negative dielectric anisotropy, whereas “conventional” FFS uses liquid crystals with positive dielectric anisotropy.  There were two key challenges to overcome for market introduction: The first was to provide liquid crystals with a sufficiently fast switching speed.  The second was to maintain the high reliability level of FFS even though completely different materials with much higher requirements were used.

The higher display transmissions enabled by the new UB-FFS liquid crystals allow greater design freedom for product developers.  Devices now can be made slimmer because of the possibility of using thinner batteries.  Alternatively, designers can opt for a longer battery run-time because fewer LEDs will be required for the backlighting.  The higher transmission can also lead to cost reduction for manufacturers and hence for consumers.

Merck KGaA continuously developed new innovative liquid crystals and liquid-crystal mixtures for UB-FFS and finally fulfilled all the requirements for mass production.  Based on the recent development of fast-switching LC mixtures, the new generation of Merck KGaA’s products enables the application of UB-FFS for nearly all display applications.   With a business model of close partnerships in the industry, Merck KGaA is able to offer LC solutions for new technologies such as UB-FFS that can easily be implemented in the existing LCD production setup.

Silver Award: Intel’s RealSense Technology

Intel RealSense technology is a new type of human–computer interface and input device based on real-time depth sensing to enable natural user interactions with content on interactive displays and computers.  Available on today’s most innovative PCs, the Intel RealSense cameras simulate human eyes to add a new dimension to user experience.  Users can bring toys, games, and books to life using free hand movements to interact with characters and capture faces and objects with 3D scanning technology for sharing, editing, and 3D printing.

The Intel RealSense camera contains a standard video camera as well as infrared sensing components that work together to allow the device to infer depth by detecting infrared light that has bounced back from objects in front of it.  It can track up to 22 joints in each hand and even understands the rotation and finger movements of two hands simultaneously.  This data, taken in combination with the Intel RealSense software platform, creates a touch-free interface that responds to hand and head motions as well as facial expressions.

Intel RealSense cameras elevate the user interface to futuristic levels by sensing depth and tracking human motion, letting you interact with your device more like you interact with people – with natural movements.

Intel RealSense technology senses distance and movement right from your device so you can scan and save a piece of art, a flower, a toy – even your own face.  You are able to save your scan as-is or manipulate it into something new.  Then share it digitally or print a version with the use of a 3D printer.  Make your chat space whatever it needs to be.  Because the Intel RealSense camera senses depth, you are able to remove your chat background altogether or swap in a replacement and make it look like you are somewhere else.  It works like an instant virtual green screen.

Intel RealSense technology is designed to redefine how we are able to interact with our devices, using world-class digital-sensing technology to bring consumers new ways to create, share, and collaborate in a 3D world.

DISPLAY COMPONENT OF THE YEAR

Gold Award:  Merck KGaA’s new liquid crystals enable next-generation FFS technologies to achieve light transmittance that is up to 15% higher than conventional FFS.

Silver Award:  Intel’s RealSense Technology uses a camera, infrared sensing components, and software to create a touch-free interface that responds to facial expressions as well as head and hand motions.

Display Application of the Year

This award is granted for a novel and outstanding application of a display, where the display itself is not necessarily a new device.

Gold Award:  Apple’s iMac with 5K Retina Display

The 27-in. iMac with Retina 5K display features 14.7 million pixels and a resolution of 5120 × 2880.  With four times more pixels than the standard 27-in. iMac and 67% more pixels than a 4K display, text looks as sharp as it does on a printed page, and users can see more of their high-resolution photos with pixel-for-pixel detail.  The display on the new 27-in. iMac has been engineered for performance, power efficiency, and stunning visual quality.  It uses a precisely manufactured oxide-TFT-based panel to deliver vivid display brightness from corner to corner.  A single supercharged Apple-designed timing controller (TCON), with four times the bandwidth of conventional-panel TCONs, drives all 14.7 million pixels.  The iMac with Retina 5K display also uses highly efficient LEDs and organic passivation to improve image quality and reduce display power consumption by 30%, even while driving four times more pixels at the same brightness.  To improve the contrast ratio, the iMac with Retina 5K display uses a new photo-alignment process and compensation film to deliver blacker blacks and more vibrant colors from any viewing angle.  In addition, every iMac with Retina 5K display is calibrated using three state-of-the-art spectroradiometers to ensure precise and accurate color.

The iMac with Retina 5K display is also packed with the latest technologies for power-ful performance, including a 3.5-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz.  It also features AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics, delivering up to 3.5 teraflops of computing power, the most powerful graphics ever offered on an iMac; as well as 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB Fusion Drive, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports that deliver up to 20 Gbps each, twice the bandwidth of the previous generation.

Silver Award:  LG Display’s 1.3-in. Circular Plastic OLED for the G Watch R

LG Display has successfully developed a 1.3-in. full-circle plastic OLED panel for use in its G Watch R.  The design incorporates 320 × 320 pixel resolution, a touch sensor, and a barrier film that enables an ultra-thin and lightweight display.  The panel also uses new power-saving algorithms that enable an always-on function that provides users with the sensibility of a conventional analog watch along with the convenience of a digital smartwatch.

The truly circular plastic OLED display, the first of its kind, will bring a change to the display paradigm by overcoming the limits of conventional displays.  The round shape allows more design flexibility in various products compared to conventional square displays.  This innovative design will contribute to display-market development beyond watches to other wearables, including clothing, and also automotive applications.

DISPLAY APPLICATION OF THE YEAR

Gold Award:  Apple’s 27-in. iMac with Retina 5K display has a resolution of 5120 × 2880.

Silver Award:  LG Display‘s 1.3-in. Circular Plastic OLED for the G Watch R features touch and new power-saving algorithms.

 

Jenny Donelan is the Managing Editor of Information Display Magazine.  She can be reached at jdonelan@pcm411.com.