CTIA Wireless: OLED Bust

I had plans to attend CTIA Wireless 2008 but could not. For those of you who are not aware, CTIA Wireless is the wireless conference in the US where about 1000 companies and about 40,000 folks congregate. This year it was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 1 to 3. A colleague graciously offered to look for anything of interest during the show so I asked him to look for OLED displays on mobile phones. There have been much interest in OLED displays, but I have my doubts as it is very expensive and very difficult to manufacture OLED displays and the benefits are not as big as everyone thinks. Many have touted that OLED displays consume less power than equivalently-sized LCDs with the same content, but I have not seen any technical papers revealing this to be true. On the contrary, I believe OLED displays consume much more power than LCDs.

There are a number of mobile phones with OLED displays that have been announced an available for purchase in Asia and Europe. Just a quick Google search revealed a few OLED display-touting mobile phones:

Toshiba Portege G450: An odd-shaped mobile phone that has a monochrome OLED display.

KDDI Infobar 2: Has a 2.6″ 240 x 400 pixel format OLED display. Available only in Japan.

Nokia 7900 Prism: A uniquely shaped (crisscross) mobile phone with a OLED display that supports 16 million colors.

I-Mate 7150: A mobile phone with a built-in QWERTY keyboard featuring a 2.2″ OLED monochrome display hidden on the lid serving as a sub-display. The main display is a 3.8″ LCD with touch capability.

Most OLED displays are used for small (~1″) sub-displays and there is a perfectly good reason for that: the larger the OLED display gets the more difficult it is to manufacture, the lower the yield gets and the more expensive it becomes. One other reason is the power consumption: high and that’s not good for mobile phones that need to be good for at least a full day. At around 1″ diagonal with an OLED-optimized UI (that means most of the time the display is black) there seems to be good yields, competitive prices and not much power consumption.

We both guessed that there would be little to no mobile phones with OLED displays. Well, my colleague emailed to me that there were absolutely zero mobile phones with OLED displays. CTIA Wireless is the place for the mobile phone industry to strut its stuff, but I guess OLED was a no-show at the party.

[tags]CTIA Wireless, I-Mate, KDDI, Mobile Phone, Nokia, OLED, Toshiba, Organic Light Emitting Diode[/tags]

Leave a Reply