Four red-hot display technologies to watch

These technologies are poised for growth this year and beyond. Here's why.

The apps on your smartphone might be brilliant, but what about the display? Emerging technologies could soon deliver the richer, Wizard of Oz Technicolor experience you crave while performing like a Maserati.

Driven by demands from markets ranging from tablets to televisions, display manufacturers are pouring billions into R&D and fabrication facilities in an effort to enhance existing technologies and drive emerging technologies into the mainstream. Users can look forward to more-responsive touch screens contoured to different shapes, with brighter colors, higher contrast ratios and much lower power consumption.

Of the many technologies coming out of the labs, four are likely to have a substantial impact on IT in 2011 -- and beyond. Our four-part series explores each one in depth:

multitouch icon
We start with a look at the rapid proliferation of multitouch displays and how developments ranging from gesture languages to proximity sensing will further enhance the technology's popularity. (Full story)

haptics icon
Next up is haptics, a technology that provides feedback to users' fingers by vibrating all or part of the display surface. Emerging haptic technologies can even mimic movement and different textures. (Full story)

e-paper icon
We move on to e-paper, the technology behind most of today's popular e-book readers. Color screens are coming soon, followed by brighter colors, video support and eventually even flexible screens. (Full story)

OLED icon
Finally we look at OLED, an alternative display technology that's fast, thin, bright and energy efficient. Found mostly in smartphones now, it's ripe for tablets, TVs and more -- if manufacturers can figure out how to scale up. (Full story)

Also don't miss our two related stories: Flexible displays: What's the holdup? and Will touch screens kill the keyboard?

Next: Part 1: Multitouch catches fire

Robert L. Mitchell is a national correspondent for Computerworld. Follow him on Twitter at, or e-mail him at

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon