Over the years, we've seen some pretty unusual notebook designs. There have been large ones, small ones and ones with tilting/swiveling screens. A few have even shipped with two LCDs, and Lenovo even created one with a slide-out LCD
. But by and large, the general notebook design has remained constant over the years. Is it time for a major overhaul? Possibly, and Samsung Electronics may be the company leading the charge. At FPD China 2011, Samsung
introduced and showcased a 14" see-though LCD panel. That's right: it's an LCD panel that you can see through.
It's obviously a prototype for now; Samsung's not ready to ship these in commercial products. But still, the idea is terrific, and if Samsung is investing the money in this idea, it's logical to think that we'd see them in retail products before too long. As of now, the prototype has a 1680x1080 resolution, and a white LED unit is installed on each of the four sides of the panel. Light from the outside takes the place of a backlight, which greatly increases battery life. While great for notebooks, Samsung envisions a future where these see-through LCDs are also used in larger panels.
The company showcased a 22" and 46" version, which are currently expected to be used as windowpanes or outdoor signs. In a perfect world, we'd love to see these in bathroom mirrors and possible for use as televisions. The best news of all is that Samsung is actually giving consumers a time frame to look forward to. Unlike many prototype devices, which are simply shown with no expected date of commercialization, Samsung had this to say on this particular product: "We are planning to commercialize them for one of those applications in or after the third quarter of 2011 (from July to September 2011)." Here's hoping it doesn't cost and arm and a leg when it ships!