3M Co (MMM), Corning Incorporated (GLW), QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM): Riding the Display Technologies Trend

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3M Co (NYSE:MMM)Display technology is becoming increasingly prevalent as the mobile revolution ramps up and more touchscreen devices come into the market to be inevitably purchased by consumers. LCD televisions increasing in size will likely also play a role, as well as the so called “7 year refresh period” in which consumers replace their old televisions, a period that some believe is soon approaching. Many companies are getting into display, so how to invest?

From chips to display….

A leader in chips for smartphones and other mobile gadgets, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is getting into the display game as well. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has created an interferometric modulator display technology (IMODs), which they have dubbed “Mirasol.”

Their trademarked Mirasol product, an alternative to LCD technology, basically reflects light by utilizing a reflective membrane that comes into contact with a thin, semi-transparent film stack. Between the membrane and film stack is an air gap, which allows the display technology to “behave like an optically resonant structure” that determines which color to reflect by the air gap’s size. Electricity causes the IMOD to absorb all of the reflected light.

Because of its reflective nature, Mirasol flat screens work best in natural light. Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research, however, explained that:

“This technology is an alternative to LCD displays and works best under natural light, but most of us don’t sit and work under natural light any more.”

There just doesn’t seem to be a market for the technology, at least not yet. We shall see what the future brings, however, as things like rumored “smart watches” that may collaborate better with natural lighting come out.

Brighter LCDs…

Conglomerate 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) also has display plans. The company recently announced its new display product, Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF), which is a film that apparently allows for up to 50% more color in LCD displays. In a partnership with Nanosys, 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) will begin making the new film to bring more color, clarity, and brightness to LCD televisions — as well as mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

Apparently, the increase in color will also make LCDs able to display more “truer-to-life” coloring as well, unlike current LCD technology that has a more limited capability in regards to the visible color spectrum. According to Ty Silberhorn, 3M Co (NYSE:MMM)’s vice president and general manager of its Optical Systems Division:

“One of the many advantages of the new 3M QDEF solution is the film’s ability to deliver richly-saturated colors, while minimizing power consumption – a difference you can clearly see…”

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