Aris Silzars Display Technology Consulting



A Beautiful Display…

Be it a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop computer, or a large screen TV, the display is the centerpiece of how we interact with these devices. Of course other features are important as well, but if we were to prioritize what is important I think most of us would place the display at or near the top of our list.

Over the last decade, we have come to expect superb displays from each and every one of the products mentioned above and every other product that uses a display. In fact, we have come to view displays as commodity items that are excellent but pretty much the same. And to a certain degree that is a correct perception. In doing product teardowns it is common to find well-known manufacturers using displays not only from their own factories but from other manufacturers as well. Therefore, should we assume that the display itself is no longer much of a competitive advantage when designing a new product? Wouldn’t this be especially true for those companies that do not have their own display manufacturing capabilities?

Currently, I believe there is one outstanding example of how competitive advantage can be gained by having a unique display technology that provides superior performance. And that is the OLED displays that Samsung has developed for its cell phones. By having sole access to this technology and by being able to create unique products that allow for not only superb performance but for other features such as curved edges, Samsung can create products that have significant market appeal.

By comparison Apple does not have full access to such a capability and must work with other manufacturers who may not have the same technical capability for making displays that will meet Apple’s expectations. It takes years of persistent effort and a focused technology effort to end up at the forefront of new technology capability. Samsung saw this opportunity some years ago and is now exploiting it in their products. Because they are in the lead, they can expect to maintain that position with continued intensive development. This will make it most difficult for others to catch up.

Some 60 years ago, in the small town of Beaverton, Oregon there was a company called Tektronix that had developed an excellent product called an oscilloscope. As the company grew, it found that it could not get the kind of displays it wanted for its new products. The existing CRT vendors were neither able nor willing to provide the superb displays that Tektronix felt it needed. So Tektronix undertook a three-year effort to make their own. It was not an easy path and many times they seemed to be staring failure in its face. But persist they did and ended up with CRT displays that no one else could match. These specially made CRT displays became the centerpiece of their products and contributed significantly to the future success of the company.

History seems to be repeating itself, except on a larger scale. Having superb display capability gives a company something of great value. In today’s world it takes extraordinary dedication to achieve such a position. But when achieved, it can pay back substantial and sustainable returns.

Should you wish to offer your thoughts on this topic or others you may reach me directly from this site or by phone at 425-898-9117.



19916 NE 30th Ct. Sammamish, WA 98074 Call 425.898.9117

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