LG's range of transparent OLED screens are set to come to even more trains and buses than ever before, vastly increasing the number of people who come into contact with the technology on a daily basis.
Korean news site dongA reports that LG Display is now supplying transparent OLED displays to "Japanese railway companies" after a push into China's transport systems – and with the potential to expand across Europe and North America too.
LG's transparent OLEDs aren't ideal home cinema screens, forgoing the deep blacks of switched-off pixels for a see-through panel with 40% transparency – allowing commuters to see through these displays, which effectively act as tinted windows with digital signage built into them.
These screens can display travel information such as upcoming stops, traffic density, and journey times in public view, with continued visibility into the outside world.
Reporter Hong Seok-ho writes that "It is known that inquiries about transparent OLED are increasing from tour trains and tour bus companies in Europe and North America."
Analysis: transparent OLED is having a moment
The rise of transparent OLED screens is a curious one, having moved from the odd prototype screen at the CES expo to a legitimate commercial proposition. LG Display is now selling its transparent OLEDs to various transport companies, as well as utilising them in retail, while Panasonic has similarly been selling the technology in “Japanese and Asia-Oceania markets” for much of the past year.
LG claims that its OLED technology is superior to transparent LCD, with the latter only achieving 10% transparency compared to the former's 40% – so despite the increased cost of OLED screens, it looks like the technology is inching further into everyday life.
Commutes, for those who have them, can be infamously crammed with people – but it also makes them an ideal place to advertise new technology for the huge amount of footfall that passes through each day.
Just as our obsessions with video games was initially forged in the arcades, so too could the appearance of OLED tech in public life start to foster more interest in the technology in the longer term – driving more consumers to opt for OLED TVs in their homes, or OLED displays in their phones and tablets. And hey, why not a Nintendo Switch OLED while we're at it?