Back in 2007 when I first met with DisplayLink, I was very impressed with the technology that the company was bringing to market. Back then I was looking at Samsung's new UbiSync range of monitors, which could be connected up to a computer via USB, and the technology behind those monitors was DisplayLink. So impressed was I by DisplayLink that I listed it as one of the best new technologies of 2007. I was therefore quite keen to see how far things had moved on in 18 months.
Obviously the underlying technology is still the same, it allows users to easily hook up a computer to a monitor using nothing more than USB, and it's still just as impressive today as it was then. Things have moved on in several ways though, not least because of the sheer amount of industry support that DisplayLink is enjoying now.
One key growth area for DisplayLink is the netbook market which has exploded over the past year. Despite the fact that most netbooks have a D-SUB video output, that output is limited to a 1,280 resolution. Using DisplayLink enabled monitors, a humble Eee PC can happily drive up to four 1,680 x 1,050 screens and still be usable, although just being able to hook up a couple of 22in monitors would be a serious bonus for anyone who uses a netbook for more than just "on the move" computing.
Also on show was a new LCD monitor from Samsung, which is designed to complement a notebook computer. The D1905 is a stylish device that resembles a digital photo frame more than a PC display. The big news here is that Samsung will be offering this screen with USB as the only connection option, although the model on display also had D-Sub. For the seriously image conscious notebook user who wants more desktop real estate at home, this could make for a good looking desktop area.
Devices like the Samsung D1905 represent a clear indicator of how industry support for DisplayLink is growing, although Samsung has always supported the technology. More impressive was the fact that DisplayLink has been working very closely with Intel, and the latest video drivers for Intel's integrated graphics now have an option for a USB external monitor as well as the more traditional connection options like D-Sub and DVI.