The emerging transparent displays market is expected to reach $974 million in revenue by 2019, according to a new report from NanoMarkets. The rise of wearable computing and the success of augmented reality apps in mobile devices will reportedly prove to be strong market drivers for transparent displays. Transparent displays are also attracting attention from tier-one electronics firms such as Apple, AUO, Google, Japan Display, LG, Nokia, and Samsung, while raising the profile of firms such as Planar that have offered professional and retail displays for years. 

Most “transparent” cell phones today are actually semi-transparent; sometimes the transparent display is actually the keyboard, not the main display. There are reportedly several startups planning to launch more sophisticated products, but the future of mobile transparent displays is in the hands of industry giants Fujitsu and Samsung. If these firms follow through on their plans, the mobile transparent display market will reach $787 million by 2019. These revenues will be further enhanced by transparent displays for wearables, where Samsung and Google have recently formed an alliance to supply OLED displays for Google Glass.

The signage and retail market has used transparent displays for some time, but is expected to reach around $110 million by 2020, reportedly fueled by new applications for transparent displays such as transparent billboards, smart vending, and transparent retail displays.

While OLEDs are being pushed as a key technology solution for transparent displays, the technology has its own issues. It has yet to really catch on the display industry as a whole and is not yet able to be used outdoors. Some companies (including Samsung, Eyevis and Japan Display) have apparently been able to create commercially viable transparent display products based on LCDs that just use ambient light.

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