Rollable displays have been something of a mainstay of science fiction and futurology articles, perhaps because there's something undeniably cool about taking a product we're all familiar with - in this case paper - and giving it a super-sexy high-tech makeover. However while there have been numerous prototypes shown at trade fairs and expos, up until now our e-books have been resolutely stiff. Well, that's due to change thanks to Polymer Vision and their READIUS display. SlashGear was there to have a good play, as well as take these exclusive photos.
Fitting a five-inch monochrome screen into svelte chassis takes some doing, and it's been a three year labour of love for the Eindhoven-based company. Now they're ramping up production at a new UK plant, using Thin Film Transistor equipment which gives the high-contrast, high-reflectivity display an e-book friendly 16-levels of grey. Currently screen refreshes take 1-2 seconds, meaning it's not really suitable for video, but the super-clear text and the fact that it only consumes power when changing the display, not for maintaining an image, makes it ideal for a dynamically updated text-news source.
It might look science-fiction, but Italians will be able to enjoy the READIUS sometime this year - Polymer Vision have cut a deal with Telecom Italia to market the device along with the network's personalised news services. A built-in SIM card slot means it can be constantly connected to an EDGE/UMTS network as well as DVB-H IP data-casting, and take advantage of e-mail, news, location sensitive maps and ebooks, as well as user-loaded information on the 4GB of internal storage transferred via mini-USB.
Audio is also catered for, with podcast and music downloads supported. Future models should be able to display colour and live video. Navigation is carried out through a touch-sensitive LED array, designed to be used single-handedly, and battery life should be an astounding ten days on average.
Telecom Italia will be sole providers in Italy, while Polymer Vision themselves will market it elsewhere in the world.