Google has placed orders for OLED displays from Samsung, to be used in the consumer version of Glass, says a Korean press report.
Google is gearing up to manufacture and sell the consumer version of the Glass wearable computer, which the company’s chairman Eric Schmidt said might happen sometime next year. Samsung, one of Google’s most important partners, will be part of the supply chain for Glass, according to a report from Korea Times. Samsung’s display unit will manufacture the microdisplays required to create the virtual image that Glass projects on the user’s retina.
The current versions of Glass, which Google has so far sold to developers and enthusiasts through the Explorer program, is said to feature a liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) microdisplay, though official technical information isn’t available.
If the report is accurate, Samsung will provide OLED on silicon displays to replace the LCOS technology. OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) require no backlighting, as liquid crystal displays do, which may let Google save space in the Glass by removing the lighting source. In addition, OLEDs have lower power requirements than LCDs, which is important in applications where the size of the battery is limited, such as Glass.
At the Society for Information Display convention in Vancouver, Samsung Display’s CEO hinted at this collaboration: “OLED on silicon may be used for glasses-type, augmented-reality devices much like the Google Glass”. The executive went on to say that Samsung’s flexible OLED technology could be used in other wearable devices, such as smartwatches and health bands. Sources told Android Authority ahead of Google I/O that the Mountain View company is working on a smartwatch that has been demoed internally in several offices.
Last month, Google’s CEO Larry Page visited Korea to meet, among others, with Samsung’s VP and heir apparent, Lee Jay-yong, who later stated that Page was interested in Samsung’s OLED business. LG was also said to have discussed with Google an alliance in “futuristic projects” such as Glass.