There are times when a company comes up with a technology that you have to wonder just who they think the target audience is. There is an old saying about, “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.” That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Samsung transparent OLED laptop screen, and now that it is going to be released commercially within a year, I am again left scratching my head as to what the point of this thing is.
In the above video from Wired, they list some very valid potential future uses for the technology. Imagine having a wall of your office where you can still look out and see who’s outside while displaying spreadsheets, your schedule or other information on the wall. There are numerous potential uses for this hardware, but a laptop?
As you can see from the video, no matter what is on your screen, you can still see through it at least a little bit. However, do you really want to be watching a YouTube video with someone across the table from you moving around, distracting you? While I imagine your eyes would finally adjust to it, at that point doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of even having this feature?
I have yet to see any photos, videos or descriptions of what this screen looks like from the reverse side, so I am curious if other people can see what’s on your screen in reverse. If they can, do you really want to take this to Starbucks? do you want to take it into a meeting and let the boss see you’re playing solitaire? Do you want to use it in the airport gate area where the creepy guy across from you can see the photos of your loved ones?
There are some definite possibilities for this technology in other fields, but in implementation for laptops, it is just totally lost on me. Yes, there are many times I have looked around the sides of my laptop at something, or even slightly lowered it to look over the top, but those moments are so fleeting, I can’t imagine needing transparency a hundred percent of the time. Did the inventors have a hatred for contrast on screens? Did they want to see how much they could strain a user’s eyes? They also must have really disliked using laptops out in the sunlight.
In short, this is totally lost on me in every possible way. Can you think of any good reason you would ever need this in your everyday life?