Polymer Vision, the spinoff from Europe's largest electronics company Philips, is a visionary company in the sphere of rollable displays. It is setting up a factory to make them in Southampton UK in a joint venture with Innos. The device that will actually be made is called the Cellular Book™.
Now Telecom Italia of Italy, one of the more imaginative European telcos will, through subsidiary TIM, co-develop and market in Italy a rollable display enabled personal device for digital content distribution. Polymer Vision will market the device in the rest of the world.
Telecom Italia and Polymer Vision recently announced an agreement that will link the Italian mobile industry operator and rollable display industry pioneers to develop and launch the world's first rollable display enabled mobile device to market in 2007. The device will use the Polymer Vision rollable display technology that permits mobile devices to incorporate a display larger than the handset itself and offers readability similar to printed paper.
Smaller than a typical mobile phone, the new display extends up to 12 centimeters and can be stored away after use by folding it, due to the flexibility of the polymer based display material. This is claimed to be the largest display available in the industry for the same form factor, the 16 grey levels combined with a high contrast and high reflectivity display for a paper-like reading experience. This means comfortable reading, even in bright sunlight. Future developments include color and moving image capable display.
The drive circuits are transistors made with polymer semiconductors and the front plane is electrophoretic.
Concept for the new device
Source: Polymer Vision
Newspapers and books can be bought and loaded through TIM's mobile network using a regular SIM Card within the device. The information can be stored in the terminal's memory, starting at 4 Gigabytes available in the initial models.
The device will permit instant access to personalized data, e-mail, news, information feeds and location sensitive maps when combined with TIM's mobile services. A combination of cellular (EDGE/UMTS) and broadcast (DVB-H IP data-casting) mobile functionalities and a mini-USB slot for PC and wired/wireless broadband data connection means the device can always be accessible.
With enhanced text and graphic content, the new device will download and play music, audio books and audio podcasts, say the proponents. It will have single-handed navigation and control via an innovative touch sensitive LED user interface and simple software and users will enjoy a new unique experience in managing and accessing relevant and personalized high value content. Extremely low power consumption is a feature of the display. Indeed, the device will deliver 10 days of average usage time between battery charges, though a printed battery is unlikely initially.
For more on the applications and technology choices, read Introduction to Printed Electronics