Tired of smartwatches that can only run for a day or two before you have to plug them in and recharge the battery? Japan Display will begin shipping a new low-power screen next month which could help device makers offer smartwatches with longer battery life.

The company says its new display can use as little as 0.5 percent as much power as a typical LCD display, although that doesn’t mean it’ll last 200 times longer.

japan display smartwatch screen

First, it’s worth noting that while displays are among the most power-hungry elements of a smartwatch, there are other components including the processor and Bluetooth hardware which use energy too. Second, some smartwatch screens aren’t running at full brightness all the time: they either turn off or dim when they’re not in use.

Still, Japan Display’s new screen could reduce power consumption dramatically since it’s designed to show color text and graphics without a backlight. Not only does that mean the screens use less power than traditional LCD displays, but they’re also easier to view in direct sunlight.

Japan Display says its screens also feature memory built into the pixels of the display, allowing a watch to display a static image without using much electricity.

The 1.3 inch, 320 x 300 pixel screen capable of displaying 262 thousand colors. There’s no word on whether any smartwatch makers have contracted with Japan Display to actually use the screen, but the display maker says samples will begin shipping in March with mass production scheduled for July.

via Juggly

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12 replies on “Japan Display unveils low-power screen for smartwatches”

  1. I wonder how it compares to mirasol. I was hoping someone would take up the Toq as sunlight legibility is so critical in my opinion.

    1. I’ve wondered why it is none of these Android Wear, and the upcoming Apple Watch, use color E-Ink displays.

      1. my guess is something like contrast and refreshrate is too low for something like Android wear, but Pebble, i could easily see picking this up

        1. Do we know what sort of refresh rate this Japan Display has? Pixel Qi had washed-out color, and eInk has slow refresh with flash to inverse (on full refresh). If this could solve both of those problems I can imagine it being used on more than just smart watches.

  2. Unless you really need that extra hour or two, bluetooth is hardly worth fretting over.

    1. Looks like the extra year has got it to a point of commercial usefulness in terms of resolution and colour depth, but yes, thought it looked familiar…

      1. Actually, I googled on the screen resolutions and at least one manufacturer (Garmin) is using one of the screens announced last year.

        Or at least the screen resolutions matched.

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