LG.Philips LCD Unrolls 14-Inch Color E-Paper Display

South Korea's LG.Philips LCD is out to impress at next week's Consumer Electronics Show and will unveil a 14.3-inch color electronic paper display.

The display, which is about the same size as an A4-sheet of paper, has a resolution of 1,280 pixels by 800 pixels and can display 16.7-million colors, LG.Philips LCD said Thursday. That makes it the highest resolution screen of its type yet developed, the company said, and is an advance on a display unveiled in May last year that offered just 4,096 colors.

Electronic paper is being pursued by many companies as a future replacement for paper. The screens are often produced on a flexible substrate so they can bend, unlike conventional LCD (liquid crystal display) panels that are made on glass. But the amount by which they can be bent without causing damage to the screen widely varies between prototypes, and there are still no displays that can be folded like a sheet of paper.

The new LG.Philips LCD panel borrows some of the TFT (thin-film transistor) technology used by the company to make LCD panels and marries it with metal foil and a plastic substrate. The result is a flexible screen that is less than 300 micrometers thick, which is a few times thicker than standard copier paper. In addition to being flexible the screen can be viewed through 180 degrees even when bent, the company said.

At CES the company also plans to show a mono e-paper screen equivalent in size to a B5 sheet of paper (176 mm by 250 mm). While not as impressive as the larger, color display, it is easier to manufacture and LG.Philips LCD said it plans to launch this latter display later in the year.

In addition to the physical specifications of the displays one of the keys to success will be how fast the image can be refreshed on the screen. A conventional LCD is capable of redrawing the image many times per second but e-paper prototypes shown until now typically take a few seconds for the on-screen image to completely change. For example, a Fujitsu prototype unveiled in May last year took 2 seconds to refresh an 8-color image and 10 seconds to refresh a 4,096-color image.

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