Flexible E-Ink Screen by LG Enters Mass Production to Rival Amazon Kindle

By : Subscribe to Alistair's | March 30, 2012 3:11 PM IST

LG has announced that it is to begin mass producing flexible, plastic e-ink displays which will be thinner, lighter and tougher than those used in the Amazon Kindle.

The South Korean manufacturer will be the world's first to mass produce a display of this kind. Measuring in at six inches and having a resolution of 1024 x 768, the LG display is similar to the Kindle's, but is half the weight and, at 0.7mm, it is 30 percent thinner.

Traditional e-ink screens like those found in the Kindle are made of laminated glass and can shatter if dropped, but LG claims that its plastic display can survive repeated drops from 1.5 metres and being hit with a small hammer - it can also flex up to 40 degrees.

LG buys the screen source material on giant rolls up to 1km long from E-Ink, which also supplies the glass screens for the Kindle, and cuts them into 6in segments. These are then mounted to LG's own plastic flexible backplates, compared to Amazon's method of mounting the screen material to glass.

In a press release, as published by The Digital Reader, LG boasts that it has "once again proven its reputation for leadership and innovation with a product we believe will help greatly popularize the ebook market."

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Mass production of the display could lead to smaller and lighter ebook readers appearing on the market soon, possibly resulting in lower prices as manufacturers can focus less on protecting the screen and more on slimming down the readers.

The South Korean company will first supply the displays to Chinese firms and hopes that completed products featuring the screen will be released in Europe at the beginning of April.

The plastic LG screen also offers improved energy efficiency over the glass competition, which could soon lead to ebook readers boasting even more impressive battery life than the current one to two months offered by the Kindle range.

While being able to flex up to 40 degrees shows off the durability and strength of the LG screen, it is not yet known what practical uses a flexible e-ink screen could offer.

Confident of the display's strength, LG said: "Ebook users have long expressed a desire for more durable EPD [e-paper display], since around 10 percent of them have damaged their product screens from accidentally dropping or hitting them.

"When LG Display's plastic EPD was put through repeated drop tests, from 1.5m 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."

No mention was made as to whether the LG screens will be touch sensitive, which may give Amazon the upper hand, as it is releasing its Kindle Touch in the UK and Europe from 27 April, with pre-orders starting now.

IBTimes UK reviewed the standard Kindle reader when the latest model went on sale back in October.

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This article is copyrighted by IBTimes.co.uk, the business news leader
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