LG Display said on Thursday that it has begun mass producing the "world's first" plastic electronic paper display (EPD) for use in e-readers. LG says its plastic solution should "revolutionize" the e-reader market, using e-ink and sporting a XGA (1024 x 768) resolution. The EPDs will first be supplied to ODM companies in China, followed by completed products to be released in Europe at the beginning of next month. So far there's no word of a North American release.
The new EPD is comprised of a plastic substrate as slim as cell phone protection film, measuring just 0.7-mm which is 1/3 slimmer than the current glass version. Its flexible design allows bending at a range of 40 degrees from the center of the screen. It's also half the weight of the glass version, measuring only 14g on the scale.
"E-Book users have long expressed a desire for more durable EPD, since around 10-percent of them have damaged their product screens from accidentally dropping or hitting them," LG said on Thursday. "When LG Display's plastic EPD was put through repeated drop tests, from 1.5-m above the ground or the average height of reading when standing, no damage resulted. When put through a break/scratch test involving hitting the display with a small urethane hammer, no scratches or breakage resulted."
The company said it developed a unique technique to utilize the high TFT process in the production of its plastic EPD, a process which is typically used in general LCD manufacturing and generates temperatures exceeding 350 degrees. LG didn't really explain how it overcame the obstacles associated with applying this process to heat susceptible plastic, but the company said it was able to maintain strong durability in high temperatures during mass production.
"With the world's first plastic EPD, LG Display has once again proven its reputation for leadership and innovation with a product we believe will help greatly popularize the E-Book market," said Mr. Sang Duck Yeo, Head of Operations for LG Display's Mobile/OLED division. "Based on our success in mass-producing plastic EPD, we are excited as we look toward applying concepts from this experience to future developments like plastic OLED and flexible displays."
There's no reason to assume this new e-paper and related products aren't coming to the States. It's just a matter of when, so stay tuned. Heck, we just might even see it in a new Kindle later this year.