News Reader of the Future?

Posted on February 6, 2007

Here is a gadget that has potential for being a device people will regularly use to read news, rss feeds, blogs or email. The prototype device from Telecom Italia and Polymer Vision called the "Cellular-Book" uses a rollable display technology.

The innovative terminal will be presented to the Industry as a world first at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona from February12th (booth in Hall 2, D 06). The device uses the unique Polymer Vision rollable display technology which enables mobile devices to incorporate a display larger than the handset itself and offers a readability similar to printed paper. The product follows up on the rollable display technology based concept device Readius presented by Polymer Vision less than 18 months ago at the IFA Consumer Electronics Trade Fair in Berlin.

While smaller than a typical mobile phone, the new device features a display which extends up to 5-inches and may simply be stored away after use by folding it, thanks to the flexibility of the polymer based display material. The device features 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 paper like reading experience enables comfortable reading, even in bright sunlight. Future developments include colour and moving image capable display.

Shane Richmond at Telegraph Blogs sounds pretty keen on the idea of an electronic reader ultimately catching on.
The Readius is the culmination of 16 years of research and I'm sure this device is simply the beginning, both for Polymer Vision and its competitors.

It took four years from the production of the first digital audio player, in 1997, to the first iPod, which kicked off the growth of the digital music market. The arrival of iTunes in 2003 brought digital music into the mainstream. Now commuter trains are filled with people plugged into their white earbuds while they flick through a newspaper. How long before they're scrolling through their emails and RSS feeds or reading their books on an electronic reader?

It would be hard to argue that eventually plastic displays and electronic ink won't make a huge impact. These displays will allow blogs to be read everywhere. They will allow people to take the Internet and its data, news and videos with them wherever they go on an expanding number of surfaces and devices. Eventually they will come up with an electronic reader that works for books as well. You can see another flexible display from Plastic Logic in this post from the Telegraph's Technology blog.

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