Bezel-less displays and their applications
January 07, 2020
When using the term bezel-less displays, most people are referring to less bezel rather than no bezel. We are yet to see a product design with zero bezel on all sides, but we probably won’t be waiting too long.
The bezel can be described as the frame of the device – it serves to hide the electronic circuitry and wiring, and other non-active area around the edge of the displays, as well as providing protection against impact for glass displays.
The notion of reducing the size of the bezel or removing it altogether is an appealing one, because it will create a bigger screen without necessarily increasing the size of the device, i.e. it will increase the screen-to-body ratio.
There are many mass market applications that can benefit from bezel-less displays.
It’s probably true to say that the hype about bezel-less screens has started with smartphones. Phones with displays that stretch from edge to edge are coveted for their sleek designs and larger screens. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge was the first phone with an edge display, but in reality it was the brand’s Galaxy S6 Edge that popularised the concept. Since then a few of Samsung’s competitors launched their curved screen smartphone versions and we will certainly see more stunning variations of this technology over the next years.
Reducing the size of the bezels around the screens allows manufacturers to create notebooks that have larger screens, but are still compact.
Until recently notebooks with screens larger than 15 inches might have been perceived as gaming notebooks, but this is set to change. In November 2019 Apple released its long-awaited new MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display with reduced bezel – the notebook is actually only around two percent larger than the MacBook Pro 15-inch. The benefits to users are clear – extra screen size (i.e. working space) with almost no additional bulk. Digitimes reported that as notebook vendors seek new momentum, notebooks with 16-inch ultra-thin bezel displays are expected to become a new trend in the next few years.
TVs and monitors
Similar to notebooks, televisions and monitors with a very narrow or no bezel are seen as exciting and desirable by consumers. A bezel-less design would allow the display to blend subtly into its surroundings. At CES 2020 Samsung debuted an almost bezel-less 8K QLED TV which is 99% picture and it looks impressive.
Many people use multiple monitors for work or gaming in order to get more screen real estate. Bezel‐free designs will ensure that there will be no visible seam between multiple display units.
In-vehicle surface-integrated displays
With the proliferation of screens in the vehicle interior, the idea of bezel-less displays is an appealing one for automakers too. Reportedly Tesla is already developing its own bezel-less display technology. Whether or not this is the case, it’s easy to imagine the benefits of bezel-less displays for vehicles – adding more screen area without adding more weight.
Achieving bezel-less displays
In order to create bezel-less designs, flexible displays such as OLED or Organic LCD (OLCD) are needed. The high cost of today’s flexible OLED displays is one of the main reasons they aren’t used in mass market large area display products such as notebooks or TVs.
In contrast, OLCD is cost-effectively scalable to large sizes and is therefore suitable to replace the glass displays in notebooks, TVs and vehicle interiors. FlexEnable has already demonstrated that OLCD enables bezel-less displays through curved edges and folded borders. It also brings other advantages to products by allowing thinner, lighter and shatterproof screens.
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