E-paper displays transforming the smartphone experience
The e-paper market has come a long way since its inception in 1970s and has matured into a proven technology with a genuine business case and a huge breadth of different successful applications.
However, one area where EPDs have made less impact is the smartphone market. Despite e-paper display’s many advantages the technology does currently lack the colour and vibrancy of LCD or OLED screens. These screens’ superior refresh rates and responsiveness to touch make it highly unlikely we’ll be seeing a smartphone on the market any time soon that uses an EPD as its primary screen.
That being said, smartphones can still benefit from e-paper — as the pioneering YotaPhone illustrates. This blog explores some of the opportunities.
Lacklustre battery life: Overcoming the biggest pet peeve for smartphone users
In this hyper-connected world, consumers are spending a considerable amount of time on their smartphones, with four in ten millennials (39%) interacting more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children or co-workers. But one shared frustration amongst them is the short battery life of their devices.
Savvy innovators have realised the lucrative opportunity to utilise e-paper as a secondary display — either as part of an accessory case or integrated into the handset itself. Having a dual screen can allow users to watch videos, play games and perform other functions best suited to LCD or OLED on their primary screen, but use a secondary e-paper display to keep important information visible without draining the battery. We’re imagining things like the time/date, an RSS feed, mobile boarding cards, maps and tickets which could carry on being displayed long after the battery has died or the phone has been switched off.
A secondary e-paper screen can also add to the smartphone user experience and offer users additional functionality, again, without compromising the battery life of the device. A secondary e-paper display can for example function as a mini eBook reader — given that 54% of eBook buyers are reading on their smartphones. Unlike LCD and OLED which can impede the reading experience in bright sunshine an EPDs reflective screen is always easy to read and will not strain the user’s eyes.
With differentiation one of the biggest challenges in the smartphone sector, to us it seems obvious that more brands should be following the YotaPhone’s lead and exploring the creative possibilities of EPDs as part of their R&D and next generation product development.