After years of research on display technology, South-Korean conglomerate LG has announced the launch of the next generation electronic display paper for the e-book market and this time it is flexible and bendable and can be rolled up and put in bags.
On Thursday, LG Displays said the world's first roll-up screen -- something it calls an electronic paper display or EPD -- would be released to gadget makers in Europe next month.
Sang Duck Yeo, Head of Operations for LG Display's Mobile/OLED division, said, Based on our success in mass-producing plastic EPD, we are excited as we look toward applying concepts from this experience to future developments like plastic OLED and flexible displays.
Plastic EPD -- Functionality and Design
The world's first flexible EPD from LG Display has a malleable plastic body sporting a 6-inch XGA e-ink flexible screen which is 0.7 mm thick and has a resolution of 1024 x 768. Further, it can uniquely bend at an angle of up to 40 degrees to the center and further the device would weigh around 14grams.
The key initial market for the screen is e-book readers. Hence, LG added that e-book users have wanted a more durable display, since about 10 percent of users have accidentally damaged their screens by dropping them. But the plastic EPD won't get any scratches if it is dropped from 4 feet, which is the average height of reading while standing.
When put through a break and scratch test that involved hitting the screen with a small urethane hammer, the screen suffered no scratches or breakage.
LG has said that EPD provides a reading experience akin to paper, with a plastic substrate as slim as cell phone protection film and a flexible design. Compared to existing glass EPD, the plastic EPD is one-third slimmer and half the weight.
Additionally, the company press release informed that LG is intending to release the product in the future, including plastic OLED and other kinds of flexible displays.
In addition to durability, LG said the lighter and thinner screen offered reduced eye fatigue and more efficient energy consumption. To manufacture the new screens, the company has developed a unique technique that uses the high TFT process, involving temperatures of more than 350 degrees.
LG claims that the new technique has helped overcome the issues of manufacturing heat-susceptible plastic.
The company has been showing demonstrations of new kinds of versatile e-ink displays for several years. In early 2010, for instance, it showed a 19-inch, metal-foil electronic prototype that resembled a newspaper. In 2009, it showed an 11.5-inch sheet of flexible e-paper. One of the biggest hopes for flexible screens, of course, is that those small devices users carry in their pockets will eventually have a flexible, larger screen that can be pulled out when it is needed.
On the other side, other tech manufacturers are also getting into the new flexible screen market. Samsung announced earlier this year that they were mass producing flexible OLED displays, and expected products with the new screens to be released this year. Samsung has said it is developing a foldable OLED screen that has no seam and allows a device to be folded in half -- and then opened up to show a combined, larger screen.
Meanwhile, Nokia has also shown a concept phone, the GEM, in which the entire surface of the device -- front, side, back - is a single, touch-sensitive display.
Release Date and Price
The company has not yet revealed any information on the availability of the product in the US. However, it has informed that the world's first mass-produced plastic EPD from LG Display will first be supplied to ODM companies in China, followed by completed products to be released in Europe around the beginning of April.
regarding the price, LG remains tight-lipped, but hints that weighing against the spectacular features the device comes with, the price of the device would be comparatively less.