We could soon be seeing broad commercial availability of both flexible e-paper and color e-paper displays, if rumors regarding manufacturer Prime View International (PVI) pan out. Industry sources are suggesting that PVI are preparing to mass produce flexible electrophoretic displays (EPDs), which use a TFT backplane with an electrophoretic frontplane based on E Ink technology, and will follow that up with color displays using the same processes.
PVI themselves have declined to comment on the rumor, but it’s believed that the recent surge in mainstream e-book reader awareness – fueled no doubt by the Amazon Kindle and Kindle 2 – has prompted the company to accelerate their manufacturing plans. PVI holds the exclusive license to manufacturing technology developed by Philips Research, and promise 7,000 page turns per charge in a more robust and compact casing.
Mass production of non-flexible 6-inch e-paper PVI displays is already underway. It’s expected that this new range of flexible displays could also include PVI’s Touch EPD technology, which uses force sensors underneath the e-paper layer to recognize touch from a finger or stylus. It’s roughly as accurate as a resistive touchscreen, but as the layer is beneath rather than above the display panel there’s no reduction in light output.