Organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs have always had three different colors. There are red and green diodes, which currently have a very high efficiency, and then their blue friend, which is about as wasteful as they come.
Thankfully, some brainiacs at the University of Florida have been working nonstop to fix this problem, and they’ve recently re-set the record for efficiency with the diodes. Currently, they’re rocking blue OLED efficiency of 50 lumens per watt, which is halfway to their set goal of 100 lumens per watt.
Franky So, the head of the team has stated that the Gators have “achieved a new record in efficiency of blue organic light-emitting diodes, and because blue is essential to white light, the advance helps overcome a hurdle to lighting that is much more efficient than compact fluorescents.”
The number of available OLED keyboards has just doubled with the release of the United Keys OLED Display Keyboard. Unlike the Optimus Maximus, United Keys' plank doesn't sport a fancy name or boast 16-bit color support, nor does it cost a small fortune. What you do get are nine monochrome OLED display keys slapped onto an otherwise standard keyboard.
The USB-powered keyboard measures about 20.5 inches long by 7.25 inches wide and emits a blue glow on each side. Each of the 64 x 64 resolution OLED keys can be mapped to a command and customized with an image (.png) or text, and the included software, which is pre-loaded in flash memory, works on both Windows XP and Vista.
For those unwilling to give up their favorite plank, United Keys also offers a separate nine-key OLED keypad with the same feature-set for $60 less. Both the keyboard and keypad and manufactured by Foxconn and carry and 1-year warranty through United Keys.
The United Keys OLED keyboard and keypad are available now for $260 and $200 respectively.
So you just got a snazzy new printer, huh? Funny thing, so did GE! While they think your photo quality printer is nice, they’re much happier with theirs that prints OLED lights.
GE’s printer, which is about the size of a semi-trailer, coats an 8-inch plastic sheet with chemicals and seals it up with a layer of metal foil. Once an electric current is applied to this sheet, it lights up with a blue-white glow.
GE has been heralding the countless possibilities of these sheets. Given that they’re flexible, one could wrap them around a pillar, tack them to a wall or even make a translucent version and attach it to a window (though, nobody’s really sure why). And given that these panels provide diffused light, they’ll be much easier on the eye than current lighting technology.
Lawrence Gasman of Nanomarkets LLC, a research firm in Glen Allen, Virginia is suggesting that these OLEDs could become very common sources of lights, with sales reaching $5.9 billion by 2015.
Bob Sagebiel, the technical marketing manager for lighting at Arrow Electronics Inc. isn’t as confident in these figures though. He points out that these fixtures won’t fit into the 20 billion light-bulb sockets worldwide, and that since they’re so different from current lighting technology they may have issues being accepted. Not to mention commercial buildings would need to be rewired in order to take advantage if potentially bigger OLED panels that wouldn’t fit into existing fixtures for fluorescent tubes.
Only time will tell, but the future for this technology looks pretty bright (see what I did there?).
There's been a bit of hype as of late concerning OLED technology, leading to a cautious optimism in the consumer electronics industry. Back in June, Plexitronics, with funding provided by the U.S. Display Consortium, announced a breakthrough in OLED manufacturing that could lead to low cost OLED displays, and just one month later Matsushita cranked the hype machine by saying it had set a goal of selling 40-inch OLED displays by 2011. Could we be on the verge of an OLED revolution?
Not everyone is as optimisitc, including Panasonic, who casted a ray of reality on the situation during the opening day of Ceatec 2008. Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto squashed that idea that we might see OLED televisions in sizes of 30 inches or more anytime soon, saying th technology is not suitable for mass manufacturing. Earlier this year at CES, Sakamoto said that because "you won't be able to beat the cost and price performance of LCD and plasma for a long time," we likely won't see OLED start to grow as a market until 2015, but now feels even that estimate might be overly optimistic. The biggest irony here is that Panasonic is a brand name of Matsushita's!
Is Sakamoto's pessimism warranted, or will we see affordable 30-inch+ OLED displays before 2015?
If there's one company that understands how to hype up a product, it's Art Lebedev Studios, the company responsible for the Optimus Maximus. Oft delayed to the point of being considered vaporware, the OLED keyboard finally saw the light of day after laying not so low for nearly 3 years, and now you can pick one up for just shy of $2,000.
This time around it's the Optimus Aux that's being pimped to the press with new product shots emerging. Formerly known as the Pultius, the renamed Aux is a numeric keypad designed with the same OLED DNA as the Maximus. According to the company's blog, the key rows have been moved closer together in this newest revision (fifteen keys in all), and it now looks to ship with two downstream USB ports instead of one. There's also an upstream USB port, a Kensigton lock hole, and a power socket.
No word on price or availability, but if the past is any indication, expect it to be expensive and delayed.
OLED spreads its wings further into the consumer sector today, as Koday has unveiled what it claims is the first consumer-available wireless OLED picture frame. And it will be available just in time for the holiday shopping season, provided you have an extra grand just taking up space in you wallet.
The new frame sports a 7.6-inch diagonal panel, and because it uses OLED technology it can boast a superior 180-degree viewing angle to existing digital frames currently on the market. But lest anyone balk at the price tag (who are we kidding, go ahead and balk!), it also comes with a built-in memory card reader, USB port, and 2GB of internal memory Kodak says is capable of storing up to 10,000 images. And those pictures will be beamed through a widescreen 16:9 display at an 800x480 resolution.
So choose your poison - thousand dollar keyboard or thousand dollar picture frame?
In just two more years, your swank high definition television might be obsolete, or at least the technology behind it. That's the time frame Matsushita has given for when it plans to start selling an OLED television with a screen size of 40 inches.
If you haven't been following the HDTV landscape, OLED technology promises thinner displays, a better looking picture, and lower power consumption, making it the frontrunner to succeed both LCD and plasma. Cost continues to be a prohibiting factor in the here and now, but Matsushita hopes to tackle that problem by investing several dozen billion yen into a prototype production line for 20-inch OLED panels, while also doubling the personnel involved in developing larger screen OLED displays.
While Matsushita's 2011 deadline might appear to be overly ambitious, the company already has a head start on the technology. Earlier this month a report from Japan's Nikkei BP said Matsushita and Toshiba were ready to begin mass-producing 2.5-inch organic screens by the fall of 2009. Meanwhile new breakthroughs continue to drive down the manufacturing cost of OLEDs, so if even we don't see OLED televisions by 2011, the writing will at least be on the wall.
For years PC users could be found chomping at the bit over Art Lebedev Studio's oft delayed Optimus Maximus OLED keyboard, and for those patient enough to stay excited through the numerous setbacks and vaporware accusations, the end result was an input device that now sells for over $1,800. Ouch. Such is the price we pay as early adopters of new devices, but if the technology behind a joint collaboration between the U.S. Display Consortium and Plextronics comes to fruition, expect to see more affordable OLED gadgets in the very near future.
To take a look at this new breakthrough techology and how it will affect you, you'll need to click through the jump.