The role of mobile devices is rapidly evolving – converged products like the iPhone are shaping consumer behavior and creating unprecedented expectation for video, web browsing, gaming, and GPS. As our handsets transform from primarily voice-driven devices to highly visual platforms for multimedia, the display is becoming increasingly central to the mobile experience . not only as the window to the mobile world, but also as an enabler – or preventer – of true mobility.
The issue is this: the spike in consumers’ usage of power-draining mobile applications has far outpaced advances in battery technology. We’re approaching a mobile “energy crisis” of sorts, where the modest pace of battery advancement cannot match the demand for a multimedia-rich mobile lifestyle. The widening power gap between demand and capabilities is a recurring theme in consumer complaints about smartphones whose batteries die before the days’ end.a problem which will only increase as mobile functions continue to progress.
So where does the display come into the equation? Today’s dominant display – the LCD – offers a bright, vibrant interface for mobile content, but it is also the primary culprit when it comes to power consumption. Consumers enjoy a sophisticated mobile experience but at the price of limiting their mobile usage or remaining tied to power cords and outlets. The displays of the future need to address the widening power gap, but without compromising on the user’s display experience.
Consequently, we’re seeing the emergence of a new category of energy-efficient display technologies that address the deficiencies of LCD and the consumer’s desire to be truly mobile. Bistable reflective technologies are the most power savvy of the emerging display technologies, and not only enhance the consumer experience, but also provide value throughout the mobile value chain. Designers can develop sleeker devices using smaller (and less expensive) batteries, product managers don’t need to skimp on device features, and carriers will see ART (available revenue time) rise as consumers no longer have to limit their handset usage.
These emerging display technologies are still maturing, but their ability to challenge LCD is in the near-future. And the most exciting aspect of energy efficient display technologies? Their power to turn the CE industry on its head and enable mobile products we have yet to conceive of due to energy and design restrictions.