Televisions

Samsung Unveils Transparent, Mirrored OLED Displays

It's time to rethink our commercial spaces.

A Samsung employee demonstrates the company's new reflective OLED display Credit: Samsung

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Samsung unveiled two new OLED displays—one transparent, one mirrored—at an event in Hong Kong earlier this week. It's an interesting step forward for a company that deliberately stepped away from large-format OLED production after offering a single TV using the tech in 2013.

These things are going to be out of reach for average consumers.

Nothing has changed in that regard: Both of these futuristic 55-inch displays are intended for commercial use, as digital kiosks of a sort for shopping outlets and high-end businesses. The mirror-finish OLED allows shoppers to interact with various clothing items, while the transparent display provides an aesthetically pleasing viewing platform for news or information.

OLED technology is most commonly found in mobile devices and high-end televisions, but its promise for display tech in general is yet to be fully realized. It's not difficult to imagine how such a device could be used to render information on a transparent surface—be it in a shopping mall, airport, windshield, or computer screen.

Samsung Transparent OLED
Credit: Samsung

Samsung's new transparent OLED display could be used as "digital signage" in commercial spaces.

Futurism aside, Samsung sees its latest OLED offering as a fitting room solution for fashion retailers. It will allows shoppers to virtually "try on" clothes and jewelry in front of a digitized mirror.

In January, we covered a similar concept, developed by MemoMi, called the MemoryMirror. But unlike the MemoryMirror, which is essentially a camera fixed to an oversized display, this Samsung OLED display is actually a mirror, with a more than 75 percent reflectance level.

Mirrored and transparent displays are not exactly new, but Samsung states in a press release that its OLED mirror delivers at least 50 percent higher reflectance than competing LCD mirrors.

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Furthermore, the company claims the units on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center are an "industry first" due to their commercial applicability. In other words, if you're dreaming of a mirrored OLED screen in your bathroom at home, well... keep dreaming. These things are going to be out of reach for average consumers.

But that makes sense, considering Samsung has put OLED TV production aside until at least 2016, deterred by their high-cost, low-yield manufacturing process. That leaves rival LG as the only current purveyor of OLED sets. Just last month, LG unveiled an OLED bombshell of its own—a 1mm-thick OLED panel that can be peeled and plastered like wallpaper.

Isn't the future neat?

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