Sunday, January 24, 2016

Flexible Screens...

...another technology that will be used horribly wrong.

So they've cracked the flexible LED screen and everyone's excited.  Why wouldn't they be?  The prospects are interesting for the technology but I can't help feel like it will horribly misused.  We've had lots of advancements in display technology over the last ten years but very little creative use of it.  The consumer market has dictated that no matter the size or application, displays should always be judged by how good they are as televisions.  This isn't the best standard to use since it's holding us back from being innovative with technology like we were back in the nineties.

It was long ago that tablets with 'e-ink' screens were supposed to change everything.  We were going to have displays that were easy on the eyes, consumed a fraction of the power and got people back into reading again.  That technology was quickly abandoned because it couldn't double as a device to watch YouTube or Netflix on.  You couldn't go on Facebook and look at cat pictures so the technology wasn't worth pursuing.  The Kindle, the king of the e-ink devices, was quickly adapted with a full color display to accommodate the market demand for a full featured tablet.  Instead of applying the technology in different ways it was instead abandoned.  I was hoping for the e-ink, one page notebook, that could be used for writing and drawing.  A simple device that didn't have WiFi, a browser or even an OS.  Just a notebook.

I see flexible displays going the route the e-ink displays did.  They'll be used to make lightweight televisions and roll-out tablets that won't work right.  It's great in theory to have a large, twenty inch screen that you can fit into small bag but what's the real advantage?  You'll need a flat surface to put it on otherwise the picture will be warped.  People will realize rather quickly a smaller, rigid screen that is always flat is more useful.

What we'll get in the end is a semi-rigid phone that advertises itself as lighter and more durable.  It won't be the major revolution in technology we're all hoping for.

I've seen a lot of changes in technology coming from the simple days of the Commodore 64.  In the nineties we went through an amazing phase where we designed new devices rather than designing apps.  Since the smartphone took over we've stopped thinking of new ways to use technology.  I find this disappointing because of all the new devices we could be coming up with.  So many devices that people won't touch simply because they aren't social media machines or Netflix capable.  Cheap devices for writers, readers and artists.  Why can't we have a electronic sketch pad for under fifty-dollars?  A notebook for under thirty?

The iPhone 8 will be a little bendy and televisions will be lighter so you won't need a heavy-duty wall mount.  There might be some military applications but overall very little will change with the flexible screen.  Sorry people but it's you're own fault.  Start getting some hobbies and stop insisting everything be able to play cat videos in 1080p.

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