CES: See-through screens - gimmick or instant gadget love?

Samsung shows prototype at trade show, while users question usefulness of transparent screen

Forget 3D TVs. The next big wave to rush down the display tech pipeline are laptops and handheld gadgets with transparent OLED screens.

At CES 2010, Samsung Electronics showed off a prototype laptop with a 14-inch see-through color OLED screen. According to Engadget, the screen is up to 40% transparent when turned off (versus 25% for other displays).

That laptop may not be ready for market, but Samsung also announced the IceTouch media player with a transparent OLED touchscreen that users can control by tapping on the back of the screen, letting users continue to watch videos on the 2-inch color screen.

Available in the first half of this year, the IceTouch will hold 16GB of music or movies. It will come only in white though users can customize the color via separately-sold skins. No price was announced.

Samsung's news comes after last month's announcement of Sony Ericsson's pricey Xperia Pureness smartphone. Engadget called it basically a "$30 prepaid candybar" phone lacking key modern phone features such as a camera or high-resolution display, but impressed with its "wild transparent display" that will leave you "smitten or confused and dismayed by the $1,000 sticker price."

Indeed, but will early adopters, influenced by the technology shown on TV and movies (see clip starting at 1:37 of the trailer for the coming movie, Date Night) , embrace transparent screens enough for prices to fall and the technology to become mainstream?

Engadget readers, who comprise just such a demographic, were split on the usefulness of transparent screens such as the Samsung laptop.

"Why would one even want their monitor to be transparent? Isn't it annoying enough when you're stuck seeing your reflection on your glossy monitor when you're looking at a dark image?" wrote Solidstate89. "Hooray for more distractions in your viewing monitor!"

"It's for hit-men, so they can surf the net, watch the target and see danger coming," joked another reader, One Love.

"This is so PIMP!! I love it!" wrote a third, Hyperspaced.

Some readers suggested the transparent glass would be more useful embedded in car windshields, where they could be used to pop up relevant information for drivers on the fly, or on a point-of-sale register, so that cashier and customer can see each other.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags samsungamoledces 2010

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?