OLED displays tipped to become smartwatch standard

OLED displays will one day be a standard feature on smartwatches, at least according to one industry expert.

Janice Mahon, the VP of Technology Commercialization at Universal Display Corporation (UDC), thinks that the industry will settle on OLED as the wrist-based display tech of choice.

We firmly believe that OLEDs will be the technology of choice for wearables and other applications where power consumption is a key driver,” explained Mahon, speaking to TrustedReviews.

“OLED technology for the consumer market today is certainly better than LCD technology, but we still have tremendous runway to continue to improve the power efficiency of OLEDs in the future.”

UDC is a leader in OLED development, and has helped produce the displays used on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy smartphone line-up, including the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Existing smartwatches currently incorporate a range of display technologies, include OLED, LCD, and e-ink.

That’s because the wearables sector is a nascent industry, and manufacturers still haven’t agreed on which design approach is best.

OLED displays are a strong contender for wearable dominance however, largely due to the power efficiency increase compared to LCD displays.

That’s because the crystals in OLED displays produce their own light, which means they don’t need a battery draining backlight to function unlike LCDs.

OLED displays can also turn off individual pixels to display true black, which isn’t possible with LCD displays.

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The Apple Watch, which is available for pre-order from today, April 10, is set to ship with an OLED display, which could lead other manufacturers into also adopting the technology.

Unfortunately, OLED displays are still significantly more expensive than LCD panels, which will still turn many manufacturers off for the time being.