Industry News January/February 2016 Issue 1

OLEDs Shine in Smartphone Displays

In his latest DisplayMate shootout,1 theoretical physicist (and ID contributing editor) Ray Soneira looks at the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung’s new high-end smartphones with OLED displays (Fig. 1).  “Samsung,” writes Soneira, “has been systematically improving OLED-display performance with every Galaxy generation since 2010, when we started tracking OLED displays.  In a span of just 6 years, OLED-display technology is now challenging and even exceeding the performance of the best LCDs.”

Soneira notes that while the Galaxy S7 screen size and resolution are the same as that of its predecessor, the Galaxy S6, display performance has been significantly improved.  For example, the display’s maximum brightness is 24% higher than that of the Galaxy S6.  Contrast and contrast rating for high ambient light have also been improved.  He also notes that the Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in smartphone display performance for: Highest Absolute Color Accuracy (1.5 JNCD), Highest Peak Brightness (855 nits), Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light (186), Highest Screen Resolution (2560 × 1440), Highest (infinite) Contrast Ratio, and Smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle (28%).

The Galaxy S7 also introduces two useful display enhancements.  The first is a new, personalized automatic brightness control that learns and remembers the display brightness settings you set or adjust for various ambient light levels.  “This not only improves the screen readability in ambient light but also the running time on battery because you will just see the screen brightness levels that you need,” writes Soneira.  “And there is also a new ‘Always On Display’ mode that will show a personalized clock, calendar, status messages, notifications, and images on the main screen whenever the phone is off (in standby), all day and all night, which can be done with very low power on an OLED display, so you can discreetly check it with just a glance.”

For more about the Galaxy S7  and S7 Edge, which is almost identical to the Galaxy S7 except that it has a curved, flexible OLED display that extends and bends around to both the right and left side edges of the phone, see the shootout online at S7_ShootOut_1.htm

In summation, Soneira says, “OLEDs have now evolved and emerged as the premium mobile smartphone display technology.  There is no better confirmation of this than a series of recent well-founded rumors from a number of prominent publications [Forbes, Tech Times, Reuters] that Apple will be switching the iPhone to OLED displays in 2018, or possibly 2017 for premium models.” Information Display will follow up those rumors in the next issue.

Fig. 1:  The OLED-based Galaxy S7 (left) and S7 Edge (right) are Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones.

Solar-Tectic Receives Patent for Hybrid Thin-Film Solar Cell and OLED Technology

Solar-Tectic LLC, a thin-film specialty manufacturer, recently announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted it a patent for hybrid organic/inorganic thin-film growth on inexpensive substrates, such as flexible and ordinary soda-lime glass.  Solar-Tectic’s primary focus is on developing patented technologies for single crystal or highly textured semiconductor films on glass or metal tapes.

The technology was invented by Ashok Chaudhari and is based on the work of the late Dr. Praveen Chaudhari, winner of the 1995 U.S. Medal of Technology.  It has applications in various industries such as solar, displays, and OLEDs and OLETs (organic light-emitting diodes and transistors).

Late News:
Foxconn and Sharp Deal Hits a Snag
At press time for ID magazine, shortly after Japanese display-maker Sharp announced that it would sell a two-thirds stake to Taiwanese display firm Foxconn, Foxconn announced that it was putting the deal on hold for some further research.2

Tannas Electronic Displays Becomes Pixel Scientific

Tannas Electronic Displays, Inc., a company devoted to custom-sized LCDs, was recently sold in a majority stock purchase agreement to investors led by Richard McCartney of Scotts Valley, California.  The new board of directors named “Dick” McCartney CEO and Chairman of the Board in January 2016.  Lawrence Tannas, founder of the company, will remain a member of the new board of directors and a consultant.  The company has been renamed Pixel Scientific and has moved headquarters from Orange, California, to Scotts Valley, California.  Pixel Scientific will maintain and expand on the product line based on custom sizing of LCDs and continue licensing of the patents covering resizing LCDs to the industry worldwide.


Sigma Designs and QD Vision Partner to Enable Rec. 2020 HDR Quantum-Dot TVs

Sigma Designs, a leading provider of intelligent system-on-chip (SoC) solutions, and QD Vision, a global leader in quantum-dot display technology, recently announced a strategic partnership to develop a cost-effective UHD TV platform with high dynamic range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 performance.  The platform will be based on Sigma’s TV SoC and frame-rate conversion (FRC) chips and QD Vision’s Color IQ quantum-dot (QD) technology.

According to the companies, the next wave of UHD TVs will offer a combination of HDR and Rec. 2020, but thus far these capabilities can only be found in the extreme high end of the TV market.  Achieving mainstream adoption without sacrificing image quality requires tighter integration between the TV’s firmware (e.g., the SoC) and its hardware (e.g., backlight, panel, etc.), which has spurred the strategic partnership between Sigma Designs and QD Vision.

Power Technology, a laser specialist in the photonics industry for 45 years, recently released what it claims is the world’s only multi-projector laser light source.  Unlike traditional projectors with lamps or lasers inside single projectors, the Illumina Light Farm allows a single source of light to be delivered via fiber optics to multiple new or retrofitted projectors.  This extends the life of already purchased technology while spreading the laser upgrade investment across multiple projectors.

Initially targeted to retrofit cinema projectors, the Illumina Light Farm should prove valuable to amusement parks, virtual reality, and flight-simulator applications, according to Power Technology.

“We are laser experts, not projector manufacturers, so we did not come into the market with the pre-conception that the light source had to be inside the projector.  We aren’t just replacing a bulb with a laser.  We are replacing all your bulbs with one maintenance-free light source that lasts for years,” says Walter Burgess, Vice-President of Engineering and Sales with Power Technology.  •