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OLED Screens: Worth It or No?



Lots of talk lately about OLED screens being something we’ll be seeing on lots of devices in the future. Certainly from what I’ve seen first hand and from what I’ve read they are pretty to look at and they do draw less energy. That said, I’ve seen a few reports lately about the Nexus One that says the OLED screen makes it difficult to read out of doors in sunlight.

So, that begs a question from me and I’m looking for opinions. I’m very pleased with the screen on the iPhone when I’m out doors. In fact, I think I’m on record somewhere as saying it is the best outdoor viewable screen I’ve ever worked with. That said, do we really want to move to a new technology that offers good promises in some areas and takes a step back in others?

I’d love to know your thoughts.



  1. Tamas

    01/18/2010 at 11:53 am

    IMHO moving to new technologies in general only sticks if they prove to be OVERALL succesful. If there are issues in basic functionality ususally the technology withers away.
    In terms of displays we can see this with plasma screens: they do look beautiful, but never made it to the computing world (price, power consumption, production issues)
    If the OLED screens have problems with viewability they will not stick to laptops, phones and the likes. I certainly would not buy one just because they need less power and look pretty IF you see them. I always want to see my laptop screen even if it means not using the latest and greatest…
    Think about it – would you buy a car that looks great, has all the things you can wish for in a car and has no emission but only starts if there are no clouds in the sky?

  2. Frank

    01/18/2010 at 11:58 am

    yes, I also was fascinated by OLED screens, but the fact that they are useless outdoors is a deal breaker.
    However, they may still be useful. Imagine a tablet PC with a color eInk display and in front of it a high resolution transparent OLED display. Ideal for everything.
    However, maybe we’ll see a totally different display technology soon, because they’re really developing a lot of different display types at the moment, so maybe it will get even better.

  3. Mark Byrd

    01/18/2010 at 12:16 pm

    Go Pixel Chi! ’nuff said

  4. John in Norway

    01/18/2010 at 12:21 pm

    It doesn’t stop at this. There’s also:
    Capacitive touch screens – can’t write on them and can’t use them with gloves on. Totally useless.
    Touch screen tablets without an active digitiser – impossible to ink on unless you can have deformed monkey hands.

    It seems to me that technology is going backwards. Also, I’ve never seen an iphone but the best screen I’ve ever used is the one on my Nokia E90.

  5. Glenn

    01/18/2010 at 12:36 pm

    “That said, do we really want to move to a new technology that offers good promises in some areas and takes a step back in others?”
    This is called “The Marketing Hokey-Pokey” and the manufacturers do it because it works. It works because the buyers accept it. If you give the people a well designed device, insecure vice presidents in manufacturing companies think that there will be no tomorrow. We the buyers support that view with our buying habits.
    The development of the internet caused me to believe that our collective voice could collaborate with the trade press and the manufacturers to affect this system to the good. Didn’t happen.

  6. Sumocat

    01/18/2010 at 12:45 pm

    Only a matter of time before OLED gets bright enough to compete with backlit LCD. Possibly not worth it now, but it will be.

  7. Quentin Dewolf

    01/18/2010 at 12:48 pm

    I have a nexus one and it is beautiful even outdoors compared to all of the others i have seen. the real benefit to oled is the extreme contrast especially the blacks. the sony 13inch oled tv that i got to see at their store had the most beautiful image i have ever seen bar none. the technology may actually become cheaper to produce than LCDs and therefore if the kinks can be worked out then the potential for it to take over is there (tube-plasma-lcd-oled)
    touch screens are independant of whether or not it is lcd or oled.

  8. Medic

    01/18/2010 at 2:59 pm

    OLED is said to consume less power than standard LED
    OLED, because of its organic material composition, is said to less durable than other monitors.

  9. Antimatter

    01/18/2010 at 3:10 pm

    I have a Zune HD, and the OLED screen is stunning compared to a standard LCD. From what I’ve experienced, it is just as usable outdoors as my Latitude XT.

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