Why Now Is the Time for a Reflective LCD Renaissance

LCD Renaissance Article

By Mike Casper

Reflective LCD (RLCD) technology has been around for decades, but its original form has long been overlooked when its specs are compared to the color and contrast of backlit LCD and OLED displays. But that time is over.

Consumers have been living in a near-constant state of backlight overload during the past year, with many remote workers and students glued to their screens for hours before signing off to Zoom with family and friends in the evening hours. This perfect storm of challenging conditions has pushed remote learners and workers to the brink; they’re ready for a sea change when it comes to where, when, and how they interact with screens.

The limits of power-hungry backlit displays no longer need to constrain where we work and learn online with the advent of LCD 2.0, Azumo’s frontlit reflective LCD technology.

Why Now Is the Time for Low Power LCD Technology

Because RLCD leverages ambient light, it consumes a small fraction of the energy backlit displays require in bright light. While this technology may once have seemed like a footnote in the development of Casio wristwatches, it’s still relevant today and has improved to fit well into devices designed for contemporary consumers’ energy concerns.

With the aid of an ultra slim front light like Azumo’s light guide technology, RLCDs can now perform in low light environments without consuming a large energy budget.

Consumers today are used to leaving their computers, smartphones, and appliances plugged into power strips around the clock with little concern over the relatively minor cost of their monthly electricity bill. As a greater number of desk workers spent the past year in their homes, awareness of how constant usage impacts their energy spend and battery life has increased.

Consumers today are more concerned with sustainable consumption on two levels:

  1. How much waste they contribute, whether through disposable electronics or household waste
  2. How much energy they consume

In fact, a recent Resources Study by Deloitte found that 68 percent of residential consumers surveyed agree strongly or somewhat with the statement: “I’m very concerned about climate change and my personal carbon footprint.”

Longer-lasting screen technology that uses less energy and holds a charge for longer is in line with this trend, and RLCD checks both of these boxes for manufacturers and consumers.

How Frontlit RLCD Fits into the Display Landscape Today and Tomorrow

Today, everyone is talking about OLED and microLED, and it may seem like the variations of LCD technology just keep proliferating, but decoding display technology isn’t so complicated.

It’s easy to predict that smartphone displays will primarily be OLED within the next five years. This high contrast, high-performance technology will continue to be the best option for television screens for the same reason that microLED will be a natural fit for small, premium displays on smartwatches: these displays deliver the quality and contrast consumers are looking for at the right scale for these use cases.

But neither of these technologies is quite the right fit for tablets and medium-size displays like the ones we see in laptops today. This range of mobile device displays must be…

  1. Viewable in bright sunlight and in low light environments
  2. Light and portable, which dovetails with the requirement that they not burn through a device battery when users are on the move
  3. Excellent contrast ratio for increasingly rich content
  4. Gentle on the eyes for long periods of time, as they’re often used in educational and professional settings

This is where frontlit RLCDs like Azumo’s LCD 2.0 are an excellent fit.

Consumer Attitudes around Tech Sustainability and Screen Safety Are Shifting

Think about your living space and where you’ve strategically placed specific device chargers for convenience. You likely know exactly where they are and have already located your computer cord in your mind’s eye as you read this.

We’re all conditioned to accept that devices need to be constantly recharged, and for many consumers who have been homebound during the past year, their energy spend has been more consistent than the number of miles they’ve put on their cars.

While the personal electronic devices we charge may seem insignificant when comparing your personal carbon footprint to the emissions that come from your vehicle, the total tally – billions of devices across the country – do contribute to significant greenhouse gas emissions. And consumers are ready to see that change.

As tablet and computer engineers look for new ways to differentiate their product from the competition, RLCD offers an avenue to improve battery life, reduce energy consumption, and untether devices from indoor environments, allowing students and professionals to truly work from anywhere and in any lighting.

An Easy Switch: Manufacturers Are Ready to Shift to Low Power LCD Production

Because LCDs have been in production for decades, manufacturers are already sitting on great equipment that does not require a tremendous amount of work to adapt for RLCD production. With a small market push from consumers, the display manufacturing ecosystem can quickly scale to support growing demand for RLCD in the years ahead.

To find out if LCD 2.0 might be a good fit for your next project, schedule a 15 minute consultation with an Azumo engineer today.

Meet with an Azumo engineer

You may also like


AUO & Azumo Bring High-Res, Low Power, 64 Color RLCD to Mass Production

November 15, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time CHICAGO–Azumo, the leader in thin, low power…


How Device Display Lighting Stacks Up [Infographic]

Prepare for 5G by going after the most inefficient component in your stack -- what's lighting your display. Our infographic discusses LED, OLED and RLCP + FLP.


Effects of Blue Light in Educational Devices for Children

We discuss the impact of extended exposure to the blue light of backlit displays on children.


Talk to an engineer

Learn About Getting in Front with Azumo.



Request a Meeting