I’m not at CES this year, so I’m communicating with colleagues and exhibitors by email and sorting through the huge amounts of (mostly shallow) reporting that saturates the Web. Taking a bird’s-eye view of CES turns out to be interesting, and it sure is easier on the feet.
I’ll guess that over 95% of CES stories are written about TVs and gadgets, but gadgets don’t show up in my 30,000-foot view. In fact, four of the early stories that caught my eye concern materials and display technology, and three of them are flexible.
The first is 3M’s introduction of patterned transparent conductors (PTCs). (See photo.) 3M, along with other companies, have offered unpatterned transparent conductors for transparent EMI shielding and similar uses; now, 3M can pattern the material for applications such as projected-capacitance touch screens and antennas. "PTC materials offer improved performance of the projected capacitive sensor by supporting narrow bezel capability and faster sensor response times with excellent optical performance," said Bret Haldin, 3M business development manager, via email.
The conductive material in 3M’s PTCs is usually thin silver wires embedded in an optical polymer sheet. In addition to its flexibility, PTCs have the advantage over ITO of increased conductivity. Typical sheet resistance is in the vicinity of 20 ohms/sq., compared to 100-300 ohms/sq. for ITO.
Next is LG Display’s film-type patterned retarder (FPR), which the company is using in its coming generation of 3D-TVs. This technology permits the use of inexpensive passive polarized glasses, is easy to watch, and yields a relatively bright image. However, the technology sacrifices one-half the vertical resolution. Also, in previously demonstrated versions of the technology, the horizontal black-matrix lines have been quite thick to minimize crosstalk at different vertical viewing angles, and these lines have been visible when viewing both 3D and 2D content. It may be that substituting the FPR for glass will allow the horizontal black-matrix lines to be made thinner. Although Insight Media analysts have not yet seen the 3D-TV LGD is displaying at CES, one of them reports that media colleagues have reported being unimpressed. We’ll be bringing you more on this issue, since it is critical to whether or not patterned retarder technology really becomes the second generation of 3D-TV as LGD and its customers (which include Vizio and Toshiba) would like to believe.
At PEPCOM’s Digital Experience event at CES, Samsung Mobile Display (SMD) showed a 0.27mm-thick, 4.5-inch flexible WVGA AMOLED display with a bending radius of less than 10mm. Now, SMD has been showing flexible AMOLED display demonstrators for several years. What makes this one intriguing is that Samsung Electronics was showing its new Infuse 4G Android phone, which contained a 4.5-inch WVGA display. I will guess that the display in the Infuse is not flexible, but it’s interesting that Samsung is making a flexible display demonstrator with specs that are compatible with a newly introduced phone.
Finally, in a suite in the Venetian Hotel, Nanosys is showing the first TV and tablet demonstration displays to use quantum dots. We were impressed when we saw the Nanosys QuantumRail technology applied to a 3.2-inch LG Innotek LCD at SID Display Week last year (Display Daily, May 27, 2010). Now, Nanosys is showing the approach works with large displays.
Nanosys CEO Jason Hartlove told us through a representative via email that QuantumRail will hit the market in 2011 in an LG Innotek mobile display, and subsequently in TV-sized displays. Nanosys has signed a commercial partnership with LG Innotek to use its QuantumRail component.
And that’s a first-day view of CES — from 30,000 feet.