Bendy plastic displays might actually arrive in a year or two - HP has developed a prototype of a flexible display screen with Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center. Flexible displays could be pulled out from a PDA-like device to provide a viewing area larger than the device itself. They could also be used as a form …
E-ink in notebooks?
Come on. If the screen refresh speed is anything like my Sony Reader, it'll be the slowest notebook in history.
A specialism too far
Arizona State University has a 'Flexible Display Center'? Co blimey.
A year or two?
I think they maybe slightly behind then:
How many times have we heard this?
Flexible displays have been just around the corner for the past 4.5 billion years.
> The flexible display is ... the same E-Ink material .. used in Amazon's Kindle reader
Yes, although let's be honest: Sony was using it years earlier in their Librie.
> It suffers from a lack of contrast compared to desktop, notebook and smartphone display screens
Well, yes, but only if you let these displays have their backlights switched on, and even then I would argue an eInk display is more readable for long periods (less strain).
If you don't count the backlight, eInk wins by an enormous margin.
Clearly, HP's marketing droids are unsure what to do with this tech.
Clearly, El Reg didn't do their homework about real applications of eInk.
Still could be quite useful
An ebook type device that can display ASCII & unicode text, render HTML and PDF, basically many many text file formats, is something I might buy. If I want to read docs or manuals or RFCs I do not really want to be stuck in front of a desktop or have to lug a notebook around.
It must be open in the sense that I can stuff pretty much any documentation file format into it and have it displayed - if it is locked to a vendor that hopes to supply me with every kind of thing I read then it is not going to work.
I don't think color is all that important in this app space.
What I wouldlike to see...
Is an eBook with multiple pages.
And the possibility of having different files on the different pages.
The real holy grail
"The holy grail here is a flexible, colour display with notebook screen brightness and resolution"
Nope. Almost every book in any library has monochrome text. None of the books in the library are backlit. Most of the books have a printed resolution less than any modern LCD. LCDs don't work in bright light.
We're talking about e-paper here, not a flexible LCD replacement. We're almost there. Tell the boffins to get on with it!
Since the base material is white/light grey (unlike black CRTs/LCDs), it would make sense to use a CMYK color scheme, as most printing processes do. Might require a hardware converter for everything that expects to use an RGB display. While it would cut the total pixel count by a factor of 4, I expect they'll continue to bring the pixel size down. Used to be you couldn't get bigger than 640x480 on a CRT; now it's two, three, maybe four times that in both dimensions.
Once they get to 256 colors, 72 ppi, and a refresh rate above 40Hz, they've got a marketable product. At 800x600 resolution, it'll be about the size of a letter/A4 sheet, with the quality of a regular printout. Great for reading books/newspapers, probably good enough for most office work (email, text documents, spreadsheets, etc.). I wonder if they can lay a multi-touch sensor on top of it...
The big thing to worry about is the limit of its flexibility. What happens when someone tries to fold it in half?
...it will be delivered in a box approximately the size of the Edmonton Incinerator.
Why do people say signage..
...when they mean signs? It really annoys me.
Practical uses for Colour ePaper
How many of us have been to a conference, or worse, had to stand at a conference stand. You know the bendy pre-printed screen that sits behind you... suddenly this could be an extremely large presentation display.
Let's not forget that there are other applications that just eBooks out there for this tech!