New Screen Technologies on Display

The Society for Information Display conference was this week and several companies showed off new technologies that might show up in future handhelds. The two most interesting were for flexible LCDs and Digital Ink.

A team of researchers Sarnoff Corporation, Penn State, and Kent State announced the first flexible plastic thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) that can show video content. "With this technology it's possible that one day you'll carry around a computer display rolled up into a pen," said Michael Kane, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sarnoff. "You could show multimedia presentations on a paper-thin display that follows the contours of a curved wall, or fits easily into a streamlined cell phone or other portable device."

The new display technology uses an active matrix for a wider viewing angle, better contrast, and broader color range than passive screens. It promises to reduce the size and weight of everything from handheld devices to computer monitors and portable TVs.

The displays could be printed on thin plastic using roll-to-roll manufacturing, similar to the process used to print newspapers, thus greatly lowering production costs. They would be far more durable and resistant to damage than today's screens, which are usually encased in a sandwich of glass.

The team is looking for commercial strategic partners and investors to accelerate product development.

Philips Components and E Ink Corporation showcased their first display prototypes of high-resolution Electronic Ink displays for handheld devices. These consist of a five-inch diagonal sheet of E Ink's electronic ink integrated with Philips' active matrix backplanes and drivers. These initial modules can display monochrome or grayscale images, including text and illustrations, and deliver a resolution of 80 pixels per inch (ppi). The displays' paper-white and deep-black image capabilities provide significantly improved readability over the traditional display technology found in today's handheld devices.

E Ink's electronic ink offers a paper-like look that provides three main benefits over traditional and emerging display technologies:

Readability - Because it contains the same coloring agents as normal ink and paper, electronic ink is more than six times brighter than reflective LCDs, exceeds newspapers in contrast ratio and reads easily in both dim light and full sunlight. Like paper, electronic ink displays have a clear image that can be seen at any angle without a change in contrast. In addition, special properties of the ink enable smoother text characters than many displays used today.

Ultra-Low Power - Electronic ink allows a fixed image to remain on the screen even after the power source is shut off, leading to dramatically longer battery life. The bright paper-white background of electronic ink also eliminates the need for a backlight in most lighting conditions. When commercialized, electronic ink displays will draw less than 1/10th the power required by other 'low power' display technologies commonly used in smart handheld devices, such as reflective LCDs. As a result, portable devices incorporating electronic ink displays could function with far smaller batteries, making them less expensive and more portable.

Thin, Light Form - Electronic ink displays are expected to be 30% to 50% thinner and lighter than traditional LCD displays.

The two companies are on the fast track of bringing to market high-resolution, electronic ink displays for smart handheld devices, with commercialization currently targeted for 2003. The companies are actively working with leading device makers to co-develop and design-in electronic ink displays for PDA, mobile phone, electronic reader and e-mail device applications.

Related Articles:

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.


the technology for the next palm series!?

Spooky @ 6/9/2001 2:27:06 PM #
I look forward to see this technologie in the future palm s/w and colored modells. for now i am happy with my new m505 and scrap my colored iPAQ brick.

Hmm.... LCD Rolled up in a pen

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/9/2001 3:11:47 PM #
I'm sure we'll all love that when we're 90 years old.

RE: Hmm.... LCD Rolled up in a pen
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2001 2:33:29 AM #
Probably by then, high contrast displays wouldn't matter any more 8)

RE: Hmm.... LCD Rolled up in a pen
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 10:37:01 AM #
The thing is that the guy who posted that is 88 years old...
RE: Hmm.... LCD Rolled up in a pen
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 10:39:44 AM #
Check out the eink page.

Cheers, Leviaguirre

Flexible Screens? Is this the end of Screen Protectors?"

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 12:02:51 AM #
Oh, boy, when Bill Warman gets a wind of this, Hoo, Hoo..
Will he claim they "stole" his idea?

Well, how long will it take "Silly Willy" to respond to this thread?

RE: Flexible Screens? Is this the end of Screen Protectors?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 12:17:50 AM #
Actually, That kinda sounds like the MCI "Global" PDA thast they use in the SciFi show Earth Final Conflict.


RE: Flexible Screens? Is this the end of Screen Protectors?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 1:02:35 AM #
Screen protectors really protect the digitizer, which is made of soft, easily scratchable plastic. Unless they create a new digitizer technology, screen protecters will still be needed

The future in the light-emitting LCDs

wilco @ 6/10/2001 12:57:06 AM #
More than digital ink, I believe the technology that will take off is the OLED. Low battery consumption, no backlight needed, and thin.

RE: The future in the light-emitting LCDs
fkclo @ 6/10/2001 1:31:48 AM #
Yes, OLED seems to be more promising in the near future. Prototypes has been made and we have storng names like IBM and Sony behind that. I would expect it will make its appearance on handheld devices like 3G mobile phones and Palms as early as 2003.

Low power consumption, thin, and potentially low cost of production ( when production is scaled up), appeals to its application on handhelds.

Francis Lo
Hong Kong

RE: The future in the light-emitting LCDs
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 3:33:16 AM #
I dont think they are all they are cracked up to be, the life span of one of those displays is terible at the moment, something like 1000 hours, then you have to replace it.......

RE: The future in the light-emitting LCDs
fkclo @ 6/10/2001 10:30:48 AM #
For a prototype a 1000 hour life is encouraging. With an average "on" time of 2 hours or less, a 1,000 hours do mean around 1.5 years of actual use life.

Francis Lo
Hong Kong

RE: The future in the light-emitting LCDs
atrizzah @ 6/11/2001 12:38:36 AM #
Actually, I think I read that some company has OLED's that do about 5,000 hrs. I'm not sure if I remember correctly though. Anyway, I think all of these technologies have a lot of promise.

Peace Out

Wowzers! No more BROKEN SCREENS?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 6:16:11 PM #
I look forward to the day that I can be physical with a PDA in my pocket and not hear that heartbreaking "snick" sound again. Let's hope that many partner and make this a cheap and current technology. (Da Mohel)

re: screen protectors

wal9000 @ 6/11/2001 4:08:53 PM #
Oddly, my Newton 2000 has not a single scratch on its screen, despite years of heavy use w/o a screen protector... whereas my visor display accumulated a few within a week. Perhaps what's needed is not new digitizer technology, but OLD digitizer technology :)
RE: re: screen protectors
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2001 10:26:06 PM #
I don't really see why screens get so easily scratched, even when using screen protectors... I have numerous "hairline" scratches on my Palm Vx, and I've tried just about every screen protector out there, including clear vinyl, Writerights, and Warman's "er" screen protectors. They are all junk.. I wish I could buy your Newton, with the Palm OS.......

RE: re: screen protectors
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2001 7:23:44 AM #
Not just is the Newton 2001 screen made of the most expensive high polished hardened glass - compared to "nowadays technology" which uses the very cheapest glass availabe.

The tip of the pencil your writing on the screen is assembling microscopic dust especially when falling to the floor - so the pencil is in most cases the culprit.

The Newton Tip is designed not letting microscopic splints assemble.

... old times tech.



Bengt @ 6/12/2001 6:47:15 AM #
Hey! why stop at screens.
Think wallpaipers instead you would be able to change color and pattern as often as you like.
Butt why not take it one step further, camras mounted outside facing the world then displayed on the walls(dont look for a bigger apartment ever again).
And with a stroke of your fingertip you decide were your tv set suld be, or how big or how manny.! Possibilitys

The future looks bright

Kevin @ 6/12/2001 3:38:33 PM #
I look forward to the day when we all benefit from low power consumption, space saving flat-screen displays. This sounds like a great technology and it should benefit everything from PDA's, cell's, notebook computers, and eventually TV's.

Screen protector

Lim Meng Shi @ 6/14/2001 6:26:11 AM #
For those who have scratches on their screen protectors, try this:
Once a while, rub a miniscule amount of oil (the oil on your nose happens to be particularly good & convenient !). This will not only make the scratches disappear but also make writing smoother.

Refresh Rate

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2001 12:13:39 PM #
Great for static images, but these things have a pretty low refresh rates. Little colored balls actually have to physically rotate in a media to form a picture. Games, movies, and some programs would just be too much for eInk to handle.

Screens will be obsolete in the future as the PDA will be a

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2001 1:36:10 PM #
microchip implanted in your brain and you will "see" it in your mind and do Input/Output with your thought waves. Rumor from an inside source is that this is what Yankowsky, Mace, Towel-Head, and the rest of the Apple-Dumpling Gang are working on for Palm OS 5.

Towel-head???????? You little rasist *******!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2001 3:19:49 PM #
Why don't you show what a big man you are and print some contact info you little ****.



Register Register | Login Log in