This morning, I was reading Wall Street Journal and laughing. I must share with my readers.
Today’s Wall Street Journal reported that Fitbit’s new wristband–Force band causes skin rashes after user wears it for several days or weeks. A user “loved his Fitbit Force so much that when red bumps began to appear on his wrist in early February, he moved it to his other wrist. Four days later, he had rashes on both wrists, he said.”
I was invited to attend Microsoft’s Hardware event recently hosted in their Mountain View, California campus. There were about 100 attendees at this event.
Microsoft Vice President for Surface, Panos Panay gave a very good speech at this event. He indicated “It’s not about hardware, it’s not about software, it’s about people. It’s not only about vision; it’s about people that can deliver the vision.”
I just came back from the 2014 FLEX conference and the SID LA Symposium. There are many highlights in these 2 conferences. One of the exciting news is about the Organic TFT (OTFT) backplane AMOLED.
On Feb 6th, 2014, Plastic Logic’s director of research and partnerships, Mr. Mike Banach gave a presentation titled “A New Frontier for Flexible Displays”. At the same day, both Plastic Logic and Novaled announced their partnership and their demo of OTFT backplane AMOLED.
Their demo is a monochrome flexible AMOLED, targeting for wearable applications. Plastic Logic’s CEO, Indro Mukerjee, said, “2014 will be the year that wearable technology starts to go mainstream.”
LG’s booth is also full of curved TVs. The most attractive one is the 77” 4K flexible OLED TV, which they claim is the world’s first 77” flexible 4K OLED TV. I think that is true.
Many other TV suppliers also showcased curved TV at this CES, such as Hisense, Haier, Konka, Panasonic.
Curved TVs provide a unique form factor and cinema-like immersive view. We believe the ecosystem of flexible and curved displays is maturing. Good progress has been made in many areas. TFT on plastic substrate is already commercialized; ultra-thin glass is commercially available; ITO-replacement material is in mass production; bond de-bond and roll-to-roll manufacturing processes and equipment used for flexible displays are more precise.
I’m at Las Vegas for CES 2014 currently. Yesterday is the press release day. Today is the first day of the exhibition.
Hisense showcased a quantum dot 4K TV. It’s 85″ with wide color gamut and good optical efficiency. I had a chance to meet Mr. Qiao, Chief Technology Supervisor at Display department of Hisense. He said “Our quantum dot TV is ready for mass production this year if we receive order.”
I’ll travel to International CES 2014 in Las Vegas in early January. CES is one of the most crowded consumer electronic shows in the world with over 150,000 attendees.
Here are what to expect:
OLED display. We expect Samsung and LG will demo large size AMOLED TV at CES 2014, just as they did in last year. But this time it’ll be one level higher: we expect to see 4K and larger size. Other companies, such as Sony, AUO, Panasonic will also demo 4K OLED TV.
3. Quantum dot is adopted in LCD to improve color gamut and reduce power consumption. At CES 2014, we’ll see Sony’s Triluminos TV with quantum dot from QD Vision. We might also see Hisense demo quantum dot TV as well.
Quantum dot could improve Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) dramatically in terms of color gamut, color accuracy and reducing power consumption. This is one of the biggest breakthrough technologies for LCD in recent several years. Now quantum dot LCD is challenging AMOLED.
5. ITO-replacement. At CES 2014, we’ll see many touch screen devices, from mobile phone to large public signage. ITO-replacement transparent conductor is penetrating to touch screens very rapidly. ITO-replacement attracted over 200 companies and research Institutes. We expect to see metal mesh, silver nanowire and other ITO-replacement touch panels at the show.
On November 20, Kateeva announced the new equipment YIELDJET– an inkjet printing manufacturing equipment solution to produce OLEDs in high volume. It’s the world’s first inkjet printer engineered from the ground up for OLED mass production.
I had the chance to visit Kateeva recently and met with their President and Co-founder Dr. Conor Madigan and CEO Alain Harrus. Here we are standing in front of the Gen 8 machine.
Figure: Left: Kateeva Dr. Conor Madigan. Right: Kateeva CEO Alain Harrus. The short person in the middle is me.
Photo source: Touch Display Research Inc. November 2013.
Kateeva is building a Gen 8 line, it’s almost finished when they showed to me. The equipment is built from ground up for the purpose of OLED. The uniqueness is in 3 areas:
a. It’ll have multiple nozzles to ensure good uniformity.
b. It’ll be in Nitrogen environment to protect the OLED material.
c. The glass substrate is floating on the air above the metal bars.
More analysis can be found in our “Touch and Emerging Display report” November 2013 issue.
Today Microsoft announced the updated Surface tablet PCs: the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. This time both will use a display with the same resolution––1920X1080.
Figure. Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Photo source: Microsoft, September 2013
In October 2012 and February 2013, the first Microsoft-branded tablet PCs were released––the Surface RT and Surface Pro. After years of focusing on software, Microsoft now had a tablet product in addition to hardware lines such as the Xbox game console.
In Microsoft’s July 2013 financial report, the company took a $900 million loss due to the Surface. Obviously, the first Surface tablet PC wasn’t very successful.
As we wrote in the August issue of Touch and Emerging Display report, we believe one of the mistakes that Microsoft made was with the display. A 10.6” size and two different pixel formats for the RT and the Pro were used. 10.6” size was never mass-produced by any display manufacturer before Surface, therefore both of the 10.6” displays were custom made, and that meant a high cost. The result was the high price of the original Surface tablet.
Nevertheless, the second round should be better. Microsoft used the same pixel format this time for both the Surface 2 and Pro 2. More analysis about the touch screen and active pen features can be found in our Touch and Emerging Display monthly report.