The longstanding challenge for backlit Liquid Crystal Displays or Organic Light Emitting Diode Displays is that they are not easily readable in bright sunlight. In 2006, the emergence of the first e-readers based on e-ink’s electrophoretic display technology spurred my quest for the display industry’s Holy Grail: the full colour, video frame rate reflective display which looks as good as printed paper and is manufacturable, durable and cost competitive. Many technologies have come and gone over the years. Some have come close to making it; some never got beyond a first proof of concept.
Some have the paper-like appearance, but not the colour. Some have the speed, but not the manufacturability. Some even launched a finished product. The only ones with product in the market today use e-ink or one of a few LCD technologies, but these are still far from the ultimate display we are all seeking. My principal interest is currently in electrophoretics, simply because they can be visually stunning. My 2010 & 2015 Society for Information Display papers show the potential of this technology.
Spin on to 2020 and the Grail hasn’t been discovered yet. No one is sure if it ever will be or what form it will take when it is. There are numerous contenders out there right now, fighting for this precious prize. Rest assured, if one of them succeeds, it will spark another revolution in product design. It will take the right technology and (probably) a killer application to set it going - just as the active matrix LCD did for the laptop computer. My experience lies in evaluating aspirant new display technologies against the criteria required to succeed.