Monday, June 2, 2014

Where e-Paper Is Headed

Display Week has begun! Monday featured 16 technical seminars on topics ranging from oxide TFT fundamentals to light fields, and more, including,"A Critical and Current Review of the Present and Future Prospects for e-Paper," by the University of Cincinnati's Jason Heikenfeld. (Heikenfeld is also a frequent contributor to Information Display and a roving reporter covering flex and e-paper for ID.)

One of his central points was that no single e-paper technology has the potential to answer all needs. He contrasted the current situation with e-Paper is to that of silicon in the chip industry, noting that for chips, the silicon solution is "good enough" in terms of performance, whereas for e-Paper, unmet market needs will continue to drive the emergence of new technologies (though E Ink will continue to dominate.)

Other predictions made by Heikenfeld were that e-paper technologies that are different in how they work but not in performance will rapidly disappear, and also that the inherent advantages of e-Paper will continue to differentiate it from other products, even as those products evolve. e-Paper is, for example, highly readable, even in sunlight, as well as foldable, rollable, and low power.

One of his more intriguing predictions was that the Amazon/Liquavista acquisition (May 2013)  is "a major wait and see." Heikenfeld said "they are doing this for the video, not for color." In other words, there should be some interesting announcements from the tablet/e-Reader space sometime in the not-too-distant future. --Jenny Donelan

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