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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Wild tech at MWC: A transparent MicroLED display from Lenovo

The company’s Lenovo’s Project Crystal is supposedly the world’s first laptop with a transparent MicroLED display

Mathures Paul Published 27.02.24, 11:18 AM
 Lenovo’s Project Crystal is a concept device that was commissioned by the company’s ThinkPad division.  Picture: Lenovo

 Lenovo’s Project Crystal is a concept device that was commissioned by the company’s ThinkPad division.  Picture: Lenovo Picture: Lenovo

Lenovo has delivered technology straight out of a Hollywood film. The company’s Lenovo’s Project Crystal is supposedly the world’s first laptop with a transparent MicroLED display. Don’t expect this to retail at a corner store just yet. It’s a concept device that was commissioned by its ThinkPad division.

The MicroLED screen is a full HD panel with up to 1,000 nits of brightness and comes at a time when LG’s Signature OLED T TV with transparent screen is expected to ship.

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There can be several use cases for such a laptop. If you are at a hotel reservation desk, a transparent display may help and also at a doctor’s chamber for appointments. Black backgrounds and animations will look better than white backgrounds. The more websites use dark modes, the better this will hold up. The form factor can be helpful for digital artists, allowing them to see what’s behind the laptop screen while sketching. But we are not sure how it works when you are working with documents that require privacy.

At 17.3 inches, the display is quite large and offers up to 55 per cent transparency when its pixels are set to black and turned off. When pixels light up, the display becomes less transparent.

Besides Lenovo and LG, other companies are also experimenting with the technology. Samsung showed off a transparent laptop at CES 2010 and Lenovo showcased a transparent smartphone concept in 2015. Such displays are already visible in shops in China and Japan.

Lenovo’s innovation hasn’t stopped with the display. The concept laptop comes with a flat touch keyboard. There’s no tactile feedback because the keyboard that you will see on the laptop is a projection. AI may address the drawbacks in the future by learning a person’s typing habits and then using that info to tackle the moments when one’s hands stray from the home row.

The concept laptop comes with a flat touch keyboard

The concept laptop comes with a flat touch keyboard

There are only two ports on the entire system, which at the moment is a drawback. Project Crystal is a solution to keep an eye on.

PC makers are looking ahead after a couple of difficult years. During the pandemic, PC sales were up but as people returned to work, sales have plunged. Last year, PC shipments fell nearly 15 per cent year-on-year, according to Gartner.

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