The auditorium at electronic displays Conference 2024

© Martin Hirschmann

A touch of Silicon Valley in Nuremberg

PRO Flextronics’ Editor-in-Chief Martin Hirschmann recaps the electronic displays Conference, a co-located event at embedded world 2024 (9-11 April, Nuremberg). 

“Most panel makers have survived the toughest time ever,” stated Paul Gray from Omdia (part of Informa Technology) in his opening keynote at the electronic displays Conference. “The market experienced a huge disruption, with rising panel prices like never before, even in the TV segment.”

According to Gray, the post-pandemic period is showing signs of recovery, but the outlook remains difficult. He continued his market assessment: “The larger the screen size, the greater is the dominance of Chinese players.” He also pointed to the large over-capacities of Chinese flexible OLED manufacturers.

Furthermore, Gray offered a critical assessment of the performance of foldable smartphones by emphasising that they will not achieve breakthrough acceptance any time soon and could remain niche products indefinitely.

Opportunity in India

Bob O’Brien from Display Supply Chain Consultants highlighted the current situation in the TV market. In the premium TV segment, micro LED, white OLED and QD-OLED are still battling for supremacy. However, in the mainstream TV market, LCD has vanquished all other technologies such as CRT, plasma and projection.

The DSCC expert also emphasised the coming opportunity in India, which is a country with a high population and underserved with displays. By means of localised production, lower prices could be achieved.

Megatrend seamless connection

Continental Automotive Technologies’ Heinz Abel offered a fascinating overview of automotive interior applications, focusing on a seamless user experience. “Seamless connection is a megatrend,” he underlined. “The requirement for this is a clear and comprehensive system feedback.”

Abel emphasised that mechanical pointers and switches will soon be a thing of the past as they will be replaced by interactive and seamless surfaces. One key element in this development is the so-called “pillar-to-pillar display”, which covers the entire width of the car, thus offering “more space and more excitement”. Abel stated: “Fully immersive content offers drivers and passengers a completely new user experience for apps, navigation, movies, social networks, or enhanced warnings.”

Abel also introduced the In2visible display concept from Continental to the audience. It combines a purist design with new functions by means of a semi-transparent foil. Functions will only appear when relevant for the driver, thus creating a magic effect.

“Every surface is a display!”

Dr Tara Akhavan from Forvia Faurecia started her presentation by claiming that “Displays are everywhere and every surface is a display!” She presented a new rear view mirror concept, which integrates these essential safety features into the interior while adding night vision and fog removal as new functions that can enhance safety on the road. Another advantage: with the absence of conventional mirrors on the outside of the vehicle, aerodynamics can be improved considerably – with potential savings in fuel or electricity consumption.

Differentiation through cockpit design

In their presentation, Dr Wolfgang Clemens from PolyIC and Markus Übelhör from Elektrobit Automotive discussed glass and plastic-based displays in automotive HMI applications. According to Übelhör, “OEMs more and more want to differentiate with their cockpit design, which leads to a complex integration with challenges.”

These challenges include optically efficient integration (e.g. luminance, viewing angles, sunlight readability), electrical design and development (e.g. EMC, power, high-speed interfaces), mechanical integration (e.g. narrow borders, less frame, slim design, freestanding), and thermally efficient design.

Clemens also showcased PolyIC’s IMD-decorated HMI panels with integrated touch sensors that include the so-called “hidden til lit” decoration and backlighting.

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