All science fiction lovers will recognise this type of device, as it has popped up in many of Hollywood’s biggest films. I remember watching Minority Report more than a decade ago and thinking: “Damn, that would be so cool.” Transparent screens and phones might seem to be a pipe dream to us, but apparently they aren’t too far off.
This dream is being revived by Taiwan-based Polytron Technologies. They have already started marketing to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), showing prototypes of a transparent multi-touch display. The key technological component is Polytron’s so-called Switchable Glass. It is a conductive OLED that uses liquid crystal molecules to display the images.
The company has not divulged how exactly the tech works, but they added that when the phone is powered off, the molecules form a white cloudy composition. Once the device is activated with an electric current, which flow through transparent wires, they realign to form text, icons or any other form of imagery. The screen is also touch enabled on both sides, which allows for some interesting software and UI development possibilities.
As you can see from the picture above, the display is not yet totally transparent. The obvious exceptions are the SD card, SIM card and the small dual batteries. The display is still very much in the development phase, but Polytron plans to hide the glaring omissions of transparency with a darker glass cover when it goes into production.
Polytron general manager Sam Yu said that they are currently working on integrating a smaller, less visible lithium-ion battery. He also said that they are already in serious discussions with “major smartphone makers” across the US, Europe, Japan and South Korea. Later, he told Macworld that “It will happen near the end of 2013. Trust me.”
Whether or not these devices ever see the light of day remains a mystery, as the large smartphone manufacturers’ market research points to the fact that consumers want larger and larger screens; we have no idea whether or not the market would even want a translucent device, which will be smaller than today’s large smartphones, more like something Tony Stark used in Iron Man 2.
The biggest hurdle, however, will be to get the display quality on par with what we see with today’s AMOLED and LCD screens. Polytron will announce a prototype transparent tablet within the “next couple of weeks”, so we will then be able to see how far the technology has come.
What do you think of the practicality of such a device? Would you like to own one?
Source: Mobile Geeks