Last week we provided context on NTT DoCoMo’s new transparent smartphone. With this piece we provide a few updates based on our reviews of Japanese reporting (primarily at this post ).
During Wireless Japan 2012 (05/30-06/01) at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (nicknamed the Tokyo Big Sight), NTT DoCoMo exhibited a semi-transparent organic electroluminescent display that was operable on both sides of the screen. At the exhibit booth, they had a demonstration machine about the size of a handheld device, loaded with Android 2.3. This display itself had no real compute power. It was instead connected to a separate CPU, battery and memory source.
The demonstrated display is pressure sensitive instead of capacitor sensitive, so that when both the front and the back are used at the same time, it would not react in any wrong way. Company representatives indicated that there could be rare malfunctions with capacitor sensors in this arrangement. So, to be on the safe side, they chose to keep it pressure sensitive.
Because it is able to be manipulated from both sides, this means that there will be more variation in operations. At the exhibit, DoCoMo showed a demonstration of a rubix cube game app and how both sides could be used simultaneously to control the cube on the screen (as seen in the video below).
DoCoMo hopes that the slight difficulty people have with scrolling through screens while holding an icon to change screens will have the potential to be easier, with the ability to use the back screen as well. A representative at the exhibition showed this double screen, saying that while it may be hard to pull down the notifications tab with a thumb on the front screen, it would be easy to pull it down with the index finger on the back screen.
Because of the issues that the prototype has shown, there is no current plan to commercialize this style of display, especially as a smartphone. One problem is if it is used in the sunlight, it would be hard to see the screen, while the other problem they’ve found is if it is in a back pocket and the user sits on it, it could crack the glass. Hopefully, a representative said, if these issues could be resolved, they could make at least a tablet out of the dual-sided screen. A tablet like this could display current AR better, instead of through a camera, but rather on the display itself. And creating accessories for these double sided tablets would bring us a more technologically evolved series of applications.
It’s possible that this technology is more realistic to be used for an HMD or a sub-display for a controller, rather than a smart phone. Because it is semi-transparent, they believe that it would be good as a wearable device. They hope that this technology can be used not only for smartphones in the future, but for HMDs, toys, scouters, and many other gadgets.
This video below shows a basic overview of what this smartphone is capable of (video is in Japanese). If you cannot view it, please go here.
- NTT DoCoMo and Fujitsu show off smartphone prototype with double-sided transparent display (video) (androidauthority.com)
- Transparent tech: DoCoMo unveils smartphone with dual-sided see-through touchscreen (digitaltrends.com)
- Double-Sided Tech – The NTT DoCoMo Android Prototype Features a Transparent Touchscreen (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)