There is no denying that LCD technology has advanced significantly since 1970 when American inventor James Fergason created the first working LCD. It raised the prospect of LCDs being useful in everyday life. Previously, LCDs had always required far too much energy, and we had only seen them in a few calculators and watches. However, once the floodgates were opened, LCD use began to spread into a wide range of applications. Most of us can't imagine life without them being, well... pretty much everywhere in sight. However, there are concerns regarding the future of LCD technology. For example, how will it change and evolve in the future? What new features can we expect to see in it, and how will such changes affect our lives in the future? Or perhaps you've questioned whether LCDs will be around in the long run. While no one can foresee the future with accuracy, the existing data is available for anybody to view. And there's enough of it to give even the most educated guessers pause.
As you may have heard, Samsung Display intends to discontinue the production of LCDs by the end of 2020. LG has revealed identical plans, to cease LCD manufacture in South Korea. Why are there such drastic shifts in course? According to Samsung, this is due to their plans to accelerate their transition to quantum dot displays, which will rely on OLEDs rather than LCDs. Such anecdotes are interesting, but can we rely on them to predict where the future of LCD technology will take us? No, not always. While some manufacturers appear to be abandoning LCD technology, others appear to be focused on improving and innovating it. Here are some examples of how this is being accomplished:
Organic LCD technology has gotten more flexible in addition to larger, lighter, and thinner LCDs during the last few decades. Literally. LCDs can now have borderless screens by employing carbon-based transistors (rather than silicon) to replace the glass in the display, bending at the edges near the bezel to keep the bezel hidden. Here's an illustration. Of course, the advantages of flexibility do not stop there. Click here for Capacitive Touchscreen TFT LCD Display.
It is especially effective on smaller displays and applications with limited flat surface space. Alternatively, objects with surfaces where a standard flat glass screen would not function. This includes smartwatches, automotive dashboards, and a plethora of other uses. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to start producing them because they already have the majority of the low-cost production resources in place to make those upgrades practical.
LCDs that bend over the corner of an exhibit booth or home TVs with a concave curve are not prevalent. Samsung has even developed a flip-close LCD phone. When you close the phone to put it in your pocket, the screen folds. It's fascinating to see this flexibility being implemented into LCDs, and it makes one wonder what else is possible.
The reflective LCD is another great new sort of technology that is evolving. Reflective displays, as opposed to transmissive displays, utilize ambient light (or sunlight) to illuminate the display. This provides significant benefits, particularly for customers who intend to leave their signs up for extended periods during the day.
Because there is no backlight, the display uses extremely little energy to run. This means that a significant amount of money can be saved over time. Consider the costs of a drive-thru menu that is open all year, sixteen hours a day. These expenses mount up. Can you picture paying $20k a year to power your display? That would significantly reduce your profits. So I'm sure you'd be relieved to discover such a low-energy option.
Reflective displays are one-of-a-kind. You don't have to keep them out of the light. To eliminate glare, you do not need to shield your screen with your hand. You don't have to tilt it at strange angles that make your neck throb in pain just to read what's on the screen. It's ironic because those are our natural reactions when LCD and sunshine collide. But not with a shiny display.
A reflective display is similar to a piece of paper in that it becomes more visible when light is shone directly on it. It's strange to watch, and you almost have to witness it to understand it because it's so different from what you're used to.
One final point to mention about LCDs is that the Chinese government is actively supporting the technology boom, and the Chinese economy currently manufactures a significantly larger part of all LCD panels produced. The Chinese are expected to manufacture 27 percent of all LCDs this year, a huge increase from their previous 16 percent.
Overall, despite the rising development of OLEDs, we can probably reasonably conclude that the future of LCDs remains bright. However, it is evident that ALL LCD producers are entering a more competitive market and may need to adopt new methods to stay competitive.