Never mind e-paper - Sony's gone a step further and demonstrated a flexible, paper-thin display capable of showing full motion, full colour video.
The prototype display is just 0.3mm (0.01in) thick. One problem is that it is also on the small side at 2.5in (6.5cm) diagonally.
Although Sony hasn't indicated what sort of products the display will be used in, it seems a natural for pocket devices where its flexibility will offset the difficulty of making extremely slim yet rigid cases. We're thinking phones and portable media players, though power consumption could be an issue. LCDs are fairly easily damaged if dropped, but the new panel is said to survive falls.
More radical applications would include integrating the panel into clothing or other fabrics.
The panel uses a combination of organic thin-film transistor and organic electroluminescent display technology. How long it will take Sony to scale up to larger sizes and to drive manufacturing costs to a level where it would be a viable alternative to current technologies remains to be seen.
(E-paper is a technology that allows the display of static images on a flexible sheet. No power is consumed unless the image is being changed, making it potentially suitable for applications such as electronic books and poster advertising.)
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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.