ESPOO, Finland – In the past, phones were largely measured and compared by a few factors: ease of use, signal strength and the quality of the calls. However, over the years, phones have become smarter and do more, and there are now other components on the phone that are starting to be used to measure their quality. Many of us would probably put the display towards the top of the list. The display’s quality, its brightness, the viewing angle, the ability to be read in all lighting conditions, are all important. So it’s no surprise that one of the big talking points for the new devices launched at Nokia World 2010 was a new technology known as ClearBlack display.
ClearBlack display isn’t a completely new type of display technology like AMOLED. It’s actually a method to reduce reflections on the screen and improve visual image quality, especially outdoors. ClearBlack ensures that the blacks you see really are just that – black – which in turn enhances the contrast of the display and makes the whole screen much easier to see. This will be especially useful for apps like Ovi Maps, which are likely to be used outside. Also, sharing pictures or other items on-screen with others will be a lot easier due to the technology that enables excellent viewing angles.
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The effect of the ClearBlack display technology is similar to that produced by a pair of polarising sunglasses. If you look at a body of water on a sunny day without a pair of polarising glasses, it’s really hard to see anything below the surface, but with the glasses on, the reflections are eliminated and you can see underneath the surface. In the same way, without ClearBlack display, you see the reflections on the phone’s screen, but with it you see the image on the screen. However, unlike sunglasses, ClearBlack display improves the vividness of the colors: in fact, because the contrast is higher, they’ll seem more vivid.
Another useful feature of this technology is also that the viewing angle of the device’s display is improved, so sharing pictures or other items on-screen will be a lot easier.
Here’s a picture of the Nokia C6-01 with ClearBlack display, alongside an early prototype of the same device without it:
Effectively, with ClearBlack display your device is able to provide a high quality image in any type of situation, indoors, outdoors, low-light and bright-light. ClearBlack display adjusts the brightness automatically to optimum level depending on the conditions you are in.
Another advantage is that by improving the image quality, and reducing the need to turn up the brightness, you also reduce the energy needed to power the display, and hence reduce the battery drain compared to regular technology, and so your mobile device will last longer between charges. Of the new Symbian^3 phones, the Nokia C6-01, and the Nokia E7 both have the very latest ClearBlack display technology. Take a look at this video demonstration of the forthcoming E7 to get an idea of just how effective this new technology is.
We hope to be able to post another video demonstrating and explaining ClearBlack display next week.
[Update: I've changed the reference to Polaroid sunglasses to "polarising sunglasses". I thought the reference to the best-known brand associated with these glasses would make it easier to understand. But it seems instead to have been more confusing.]