Philips makes foldable screens for downloads

CIOL Bureau
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AMSTERDAM: Dutch firm Philips Electronics said that it was preparing to mass-produce a slim, book-sized display panel onto which consumers could download newspapers and magazines -- then roll up and put away.

The 5-inch display, which can show detailed images, can be rolled up into a pen-sized holder. If connected to a mobile phone, it can also be used to download web pages, a book or email.

Philips said it had created the displays using electronics circuits made of plastics, which power a monochrome display created with technology from E Ink, a privately-held U.S. company from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"We can produce this in batches. It's no longer a research project. We're going to build a pilot line that should be ready in 2005 to make one million displays a year," a spokesman at Philips Research said.

Europe's largest maker of consumer electronics and lighting has already shown prototypes of a glass-based E Ink display, which will be in the shops later this year. That sort of screen, used in pocket computers, can cost tens of dollars a piece.

The price of the foldable display screens has not yet been set, but Philips said it would be in the range of current thin glass models. The new range will use much of the manufacturing technology already being used to make glass-based thin screens but is more adaptable to different surfaces, such as the dashboard of a car.