FAQ: Where can I purchase Transparent or Flexible OLEDs?

September 2, 2016 3:58 pm

The proliferation of cell phones over the last two decades has dramatically impacted the embedded display market.

The Proliferation of LCD Modules in Everyday Life

Instead of a few hundred thousand thermostats, gas pumps and credit card terminals that use monochrome character or graphic LCDs being the driving market for small displays, we now have giant companies turning out hundreds of millions of cell phones, each with an incredible display that was barely thinkable only 20 years ago.

Additionally, every year the displays are upgraded . . . more pixels, lower power, better viewing angles, thinner profile, and so on.

Samsung Transparent OLED Display

The “small” production volumes and very long production lifecycle of typical embedded applications often preclude these leading edge displays from being used. The most incredible high-density AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED) display may only be produced for 2-3 years before the next generation phone, with its next generation display, makes the old design obsolete.

The Best Choice For Your Project

As a design engineer for embedded systems, you want to include a beautiful display, but you know the risk of having a critical component of your system become impossible to get — forcing a redesign and stopping production while a new solution is found.

Where is the balance between a relatively boring display that has a very stable supply, and the latest cutting-edge display that will not be available at the time you hit your first production?

Availability of the Latest Display Technology

So when customers ask us for the latest display technology, such as transparent OLEDs and flexible OLEDs, we need to take a long-term approach. The questions we ask are: Is the supply of these new displays stable? Are the manufacturers of these displays stable? Is this display an example of a moving target that will become completely replaced by the next generation in a year or two?

Transparent OLEDs

Right now transparent OLEDs are starting to get some interest, and we think they hold a lot of promise. However, we do not think the transparent OLED market is stable enough to present them as a long-term solution for an embedded product.

Flexible OLEDs

Likewise, flexible OLED have great some possibilities.

Update April 2018: Crystalfontz flexible OLED display is now available! This display has white text on a dark background makes this OLED super readable in most lighting situations.

Related blog post: New Product – Flexible OLED

Crystalfontz 160x32 Flexible OLED Display

Continued Product Availability and Support

At Crystalfontz, we strive to keep each of our displays available indefinitely. The first CFA-634 LCDs first shipped in 1999 and the CFA-634 is still available today — keeping backward compatibility even as we upgrade technology and add features.

When we provide a display for sale, it is our express goal to make sure that a design using our display will not be left out in the cold. Our goal is to make sure that the original display is available, or when that is impossible we work hard to make sure a replacement is available that has the minimum possible impact on your design and production.

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