The One Screen World – Take Two

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How many screen are there? You’ve heard of the three screens? The four screens? The companion screen?

The three screens are: television, computer and mobile. The fourth screen became the tablet (it’s debatable). The companion screen is whatever other screen is with you while your attention is occupied by another screen (think about watching TV while looking at Facebook on your iPhone). In my next business book, CTRL ALT Delete (out May 21st, 2013), I make the argument that we are quickly moving towards the one screen world. A world where the only screen that matters is the screen that is in front me. There are screens everywhere. These screens are all networked and we, the consumers, are able to move content from screen to screen as easily as you swipe across from app to app on a smartphone. But, what happens when the ability to deliver a screen anywhere starts becoming a reality?

It is a reality. Screens will be able to be placed anywhere.

One of the most mind-blowing things that was shown at CES this week in Las Vegas was a demo by Samsung of their new Youm flexible display. Yes, a flexible, bendable and paper thin screen.

Watch this…

Is your mind blown?

Sure, this is nascent technology and won’t be truly affordable for quite some time, but just imagine the true possibilities. Imagine when these screens are touch-enabled. Imagine when people are developing this as wearable technology. Imagine when these screens are networked and wirelessly enabled. Imagine the advancements these will be used for in medicine and science. Think about the business applications. Think about the contextual content it could deliver.

Think about the marketing implications.

As I was walking through the airport the other day, I noticed something. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s probably something you have already picked up on. All of the menus at the fast food restaurants that hang on the walls over the cashiers were monitors. Not fixed menus, but TV screens… or big computer monitors. What message does that send? It is finally cheaper to hang up a bunch of screens and send the content to that screen via the Web, than it is have a fixed menu (something made of simple plastic and metal). Let’s face it, TVs are cheap (and yes, this is a first world issue). The speed with which new technology is being introduced and the price of this technology dropping in price is staggering. With that comes many complex and bewildering issues about the global labor force, but without getting into that side of the controversial and disturbing conversation, it means that this type of flexible display technology could happen a lot sooner than most of us expect.

Right now, it’s just super cool. Wait until it gets super functional.


  1. By the screen “in front of me” do you mean the one I’m holding or one I’m watching that someone else controls? I think that’s the salient difference. I’m engaging more when I am in control of the screen than when something is appearing in front of me. And just as we’re feeling swamped by static visual advertising in public spaces, we’re going to feel even more “assaulted” once screens become embeddable in more areas.

  2. Interesting that their first promotional video for this amazing new innovation really focuses on the message, “The greatest thing about this new technology is that it will help you pick up women!”

  3. This is the technology that will pave the way for wearable devices. The possibilities are endless. I can see stadium vendors with advertising on the back of their jackets as they walk around the decks selling hotdogs and soda.

  4. One of the reasons I often attend CES is to get a glimpse of what’s coming. Lots of applications. And, the movie Minority Report filmed years ago, was so well done to predict much of this and the future.

  5. I like Marianne’s question: do I control the screen or not? To be honest, much more than the flexible screen I want interactive mirrors go down in price, ideally they’d come in an Android or iOS version so I can seamlessly integrate. Imagine how many units of an aftermarket foil Apple could ship…

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