Sonos Era 100 Review How to Download iOS 16.4 Save 55% on iPhone Cases How to Sign Up for Google's Bard Apple's AR/VR Headset VR for Therapy Clean These 9 Household Items Now Cultivate Your Happiness
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Samsung transparent LCD panels: We see through them

Samsung is producing see-through LCD panels that could be integrated into store windows, display cases, billboards, and more to make static words and images more kinetic.

Samsung transparent LCD
Here, a transparent panel from Samsung is built into a display case as a window-like facade. While a Samsung Galaxy Tab sits inside the case, the clear screen in front of it advertises the device's social-networking capabilities.
Josh Miller/CNET

The shopping experience is getting more "Minority Report"-ish by the day, what with innovations like digital billboards that know your age and gender and serve up ads accordingly.

Now Samsung is looking to buy into the future-of-retail space with a transparent LCD panel that can be used to dramatically enhance kiosks, store windows, and billboards with text and images that do fancy tricks like rotate and fade in and out rather than just sit there. Think bus shelters with see-through walls displaying scrolling schedules and clothing shop windows that feature models sashaying down the catwalk.

Yesterday in San Francisco, the company showed CNET a 22-inch transparent LCD panel built into a display case housing a Samsung Galaxy Tab. That size panel has already gone into production, with a 46-incher on the way.

During the demo, the 7-inch Tab sat behind a window-like facade programmed to display text and images spotlighting some of the product's specs and social-networking capabilities. Bill Beaton, senior manager of LCD marketing for Samsung, even did a little hand dance behind the rotating imagery to demonstrate the panel's high transparency rate.

The panels come in black-and-white and color versions, and have a contrast ratio of 500:1 with WSXGA+ (1,680x1,050) resolution. They are HDMI- and USB-enabled and utilize ambient light such as sun light, thus reducing their dependence on electricity.

This is not Samsung's first stab at transparency, as its IceTouch YP-H1 and laptop sport a transparent touch screen. Other companies, including LG, Sony Ericsson, and Korean materials maker NeoView Kolon have ventured into transparent-technology territory, as well.

Samsung mostly views its transparent panels as a tool to make advertising more dynamic (and says it's already working with unnamed major retail partners interested in using them that way). But it also imagines them as potential interactive communication devices for corporations and schools.

Beyond those applications, Beaton showed a cool image of an office building made multicolored by smart windows using the transparent panels. That's just a concept at this point. Still, we're suddenly imagining "mood houses" that sport yellow windows when inhabitants feel happy, and blue windows when they're bummed.

Samsung Galaxy Tab behind transparent display
Josh Miller/CNET