Where are the transflective displays?
April 18, 2014 9:06 PM Subscribe
Digital display technology is constantly marching forward, especially with smartphone manufacturers trying to one-up each other on screen thinness, DPI, and brightness. But why do no smartphones (or tablets, or laptops) use transflective displays? Simply put, a transflective display is can be seen with either backlighting or frontlighting. It is a screen that can be used both in a dark room and in direct sunlight — and the sunlight will actually make it clearer
posted by CustooFintel to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll admit right up front that I don't know much about the technology behind this stuff, so it's possible there's something I'm missing. Maybe it's impossible to make a transflective screen with a high DPI? I don't know.
What I do know is that my Galaxy S3, which is a great phone and an amazing piece of technology, is essentially unusable in direct sunlight, and this absolutely baffles me. My GameBoy Advance SP, made in 2003 and purchased for about $100, has a screen that is usable in any light condition. So does a low-priced PDA purchased around the same time.
Even if you look at the super-ruggadized market, the very durable and very expensive laptops and tablets made by such brands as Toughbook, you'll see them trying to beat the sunlight problem by producing brighter and brighter screens, which pushes battery life ever downward. When using a transflective screen outdoors, you can turn off the backlight, and save power.
Possible reasons that I have considered:
—They're too expensive/the technology isn't really there.
Response: See my note about my GBA SP and PDA.
—People don't use their laptops outside.
Response: Not usually, but they sure do use their smartphones outside.
—The colors/viewing angle isn't as good.
Response: Maybe, but my GBA SP wasn't bad, and surely there are plenty of people in the smartphone market who would give up a little bit of color rendition in order to be able to see their screen outside.
—Transflective screens don't lookas pretty on store shelves.
Response: Quite possibly. This is the reason why laptops more often have glossy screens than matte screens, which I would argue are better. However, it's still very possible to find a good laptop with a matte screen, especially if you're looking at certain types of laptops (business laptops).