PwC forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16 percent for displays as measured in performance per dollar per square inch through 2015. [See figure above] And while the rate of improvement in the display CAGR is slowing (it was 26 percent from 2007-2011), we expect display performance and screen size to continue to increase while the cost per square inch of panel will continue to decrease.
Display is the most complex and subjective metric of the Index's components. It is based on the three display technologies currently most in use, and our analysis of their cost and their performance, which is a weighted aggregation of resolution, brightness and other traits. The three display technologies in the metric are active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays and two liquid crystal display (LCD) technologies---amorphous silicon (a-Si) and low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS).
Improvements in image sensors, MEMS and software will enable future-generation camera phones to offer 3D imaging. 3D will not only provide a richer, more realistic photographic image, but the 3D depth map will be crucial to the sensing required for hands-free gesture control of the device and improved facial recognition.
The metric does not include touch modules, which are typically priced and sold separately from the display technology. Handsets currently use one of two touch technologies, neither of which is especially new: resistive and projected capacitive. The latter is far more widely adopted because it enables the multi-touch capabilities of smartphones. [See figure to right]
Display technology of the not-too-distant future will enable higher end devices to require less of humans and to offer more intuitive, nature qualities to better accommodate the user. The most potentially disruption of these may be the wearable computing trend, where the traditional display is replaced (in part) by an image embedded in a pair of glasses.
To learn more about how improved displays will impact mobile innovation in the next few years, read or download the full article.
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