Philips roll-up large screens and electronic books on the way


June 4, 2004

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Philips Electronics has announced key gains in its polymer technology research putting the company on the verge of producing high resolution portable displays. The availability of such displays would yield a range of new capabilities which have long been forecast but have not yet been achievable:
  • electronic books
  • the possibility of reading a magazine from a screen housed inside a pen
  • wall-sized TV screens which can be rolled up and stored when not in use
  • retractable screens to enhance the use of mobile devices.
Philips Electronics technology research combines the world's most advanced flexible display technology with the highest resolution and the smallest pixel pitch reported to date. With these latest developments, Philips researchers are now closer than ever to making high resolution portable displays a reality for consumers. The newest Philips research displays combine active-matrix polymer driving electronics with a reflective "electronic ink" front plane on an extremely thin sheet of plastic. The nature of these reflective screen displays makes them extraordinarily flexible and lightweight, so that even the largest of screens can be stored compactly and discretely when not in useThe availability of such displays is extremely attractive for mobile applications, and will also greatly stimulate the advancement of electronic books, newspapers and magazines, as well as supplement new services offered by 3G (third generation) mobile network operators.This could lead to some very interesting innovations as a result, such as the possibility of reading the newspaper from a screen housed inside a pen. Other examples could be enhanced home TV viewing from an otherwise hidden large flexible screen, and showing photographs or playing video games more clearly from a mobile phone via a retractable screen.Philips not only wants to prove the feasibility of such displays, but will now rapidly move towards the development of an industrially feasible process for consumer production with the goal of being the first to commercialise these displays. Within the Philips Technology Incubator, an internal venture has been formed to directly target this aim. The venture is called Polymer Vision.
About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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