Apple needs to catch Samsung, Amazon in displays, researcher says

In a research note outlining the leading display technologies in 2014, DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira claims Apple has some catching up to do.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 has one of the best tablet displays. It taps a new technology called quantum dots, says DisplayMate Technologies.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 has one of the best tablet displays. It taps a new technology called quantum dots, says DisplayMate Technologies. Amazon

Apple risks falling behind in display tech in 2014, DisplayMate Technologies said in a research note.

Echoing an earlier note, DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira said this week that "Apple has recently given up the lead in displays -- now Amazon, Google, LG, and Samsung are launching products with the best and most innovative displays."

He cited the example of an emerging LCD technology called Quantum Dots that Amazon has tapped for the Kindle Fire HDX 7 (now $199 at Amazon).

"Quantum Dots are going to revolutionize and reenergize LCDs for the next 5+ years," he wrote. "While they have been under development for many years, in 2013 they made it out of the labs and into consumer products: in some models of Sony Bravia TVs...and in the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, with Quantum Dots from Nanosys," he said.

Quantum Dot displays produce highly saturated primary colors that are similar to those produced by OLED displays, according to Soneira.

And speaking of OLEDs, Samsung is probably the world's leading proponent of the technology, which is used in its popular Galaxy smartphones. OLEDs will likely begin appearing in tablets this year too.

OLEDs "are also incredibly thin, just fractions of a millimeter, which is a major advantage in mobile displays and especially for wearable displays," he said, referring to Samsung's Galaxy Round.

"It's important to note that the curvature is small and subtle [but it's] just the right amount to significantly improve image quality when watching in ambient light," he wrote.

Apple is rumored to be tapping OLED tech for its iWatch.

Soneira also reiterated that the iPad Mini Retina's display -- which uses a technology called IGZO from Sharp -- fell short of the Kindle HDX and second-generation Nexus 7 (though Soneira gave a respectable grade for the iPad Air.)

"Hopefully Apple will join the leaders again with new and innovative displays in 2014," he said.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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