Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome to the Screen Racers

HP has just set up a company, in collaboration with 3M spin-off, called Phicot to make plastic eink screens which if successful could cost a tenth of the cost of today’s glass displays. The plastic sheet is just 40 microns thick, cheaper than glass and uses less space. In comparison the glass for an LCD is 0.7mm. thick , heavier and requires complex clean room manufacturing.

There's a long way to go before Phicot can create big screens with every pixel perfect; cracks, pinholes, bubbles and particles can all cause defects that reduce the yield. Today the displays use grayscale E-Ink with the promise colour screens ever coming.

So will large OLED beat the with cost effect panels? Again the answer is maybe and in the future but the difference is more down to a slowdown in the global economy than technology.

As we have written before OLED offers much; flexible displays, transparent displays that allow a window by day to function as a light by night, and plastic OLED lights that can be cut and molded into interesting shapes. However OLED is coming with Samsung planning a 14.1" OLED laptop and TV this year and costly manufacturing conversion is an issue.

So plasma and greayscale eink look to be the screen technologies for the time being at least.

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