Mobile Technologies Index - article 7

Display: Enabling devices to offer users more natural interaction

The displays on smartphones and tablets will become thinner, lighter, larger and sturdier with higher resolution, improved touch sensitivity and more power efficiency through 2015, our forecast period.

These improvements will enable many of the mobile innovations we expect through 2015. Supported by the operating system (OS), the display will help the device to better accommodate the user, including better visibility in direct sunlight. Additional innovations associated with entirely new capabilities in display technologies, such as flexibility and support for haptics (tactile feedback), will be covered at a later stage.

For the aspects of display technology covered here, PwC forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16 percent as measured in performance per dollar per square inch (P/$/in2) through 2015. During 2007–2011, display technology grew at a CAGR of 26 percent, a rate sparked by the initial disruption created by the Apple iPhone.

As with other components in the PwC Mobile Technologies Index, the rate of improvement in the display CAGR is slowing, in part because the technologies are maturing. Nonetheless, PwC expects display performance and screen size to continue to increase during our forecast period, while the cost per square inch of panel will continue to decrease.

Within our forecast period we expect new touch-free technology (to be explored in a future article) that senses where your fingers are hovering over the device screen and projects an icon on the TV screen for the button you are above—channel changer or volume control, for instance.

Display technologies of the not-too-distant future will enable higher end devices to require less of humans and to offer more intuitive, natural qualities to better accommodate the user. The most potentially disruptive of these may be the wearable computing trend, where the traditional display is replaced (in part) by an image embedded in a pair of glasses.

To learn more about enabling devices to offer users more natural interaction download the full article.

All articles in the 'Mobile innovations forecast' series