Samsung aims to release a range of new products that feature transparent active matrix (AM) OLED displays within the next 12 months.
Transparent AMOLED displays provide the user with a screen behind which objects are still visible. Samsung has been showing prototypes of these displays at shows such as SID, but recently unveiled footage of an actual product that would exploit clear AMOLED displays.
The first device being introduced by the company using the technology is the IceTouch (YP-H1) MP3 player. The product functions as a hybrid music player, radio, DVD player, picture viewer and portable storage unit.
'The AMOLED display not only visually set our product apart from our competitors but we believe it well will set the bar for the next generation of portable MP3 players,' says Reid Sullivan, VP of audio/video and digital imaging marketing at Samsung Electronics America.
The IceTouch will sell for around €240 and will be launched in the US in the early half of this year. Plans for rolling the product out across Europe have not yet been announced.
Samsung also plans to release a laptop featuring a 14-inch see-through colour OLED screen. Trials suggest that the company will have the product ready for launch within 12 months.
'We have a lab in Korea that is currently working on developing a laptop with partially-transparent screen,' explains Sullivan. 'Soon, I imagine that all Samsung's audio-visual products will feature this technology. We want to be the first in this market.'
Competitors in the consumer electronics market include Sony Ericsson, which recently released its Xperia Pureness smartphone, featuring a clear display, in Europe. However, Samsung is keen to dominate this market from early on.
'We are looking at devices that could use transparent AMOLED technology, even if it is a product we are not usually associated with,' states Reid. 'Systems such as transparent SatNav's that can be placed on a windscreen but also operate as a navigational unit when required, are all possibilities.'
Samsung set the bar high when it came to commercialising AMOLED displays in large volumes a few years ago. Over 70% of AMOLED displays in mobile phones come from a Samsung fab. Yet competition is intensifying as the company and its rivals such as LG explore new applications for AMOLED technology. Smartphones and devices that use 3-inch displays and above are earmarked as the next market of consumer electronics fit for AMOLED technology, where premium products can benefit from more advanced but costly display technologies.
Transparent AMOLED displays could be used to enhance new products too.
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