Bridgestone, a company normally known for putting rubber on the road has diversified into the display market with their AeroBee Electronic paper. An ultra low power display that doesn’t require power to hold the picture. E-Paper displays look much more like a newspaper than a normal LCD display. By moving black and white magnetic particles back and forward the display can show light and dark. All current e-Book readers use a variation of e-Paper, generally E-Inks panels.
Announced by Bridgestone at the Display 2011 conference this week were two industrial use tablets. A4 and A3 (21.4 inchs/54.4cm) models were on show – the largest electronic paper displays on the market -, with the ability to display 4096 colours, wacom touch screen surface and ARM CPU these are fully fledge giant tablets, supersized iPad anyone.
Bridgestones e-Paper displays are currently used for industrial and commercial displays, kiosks, vending machines and in-store advertising. e-Book readers using the display are in the works. Supermarkets are also using them to display prices on shelves instead of manually updating price stickers.
The AeroBee’s real breakthrough is happening behind the scene’s. Continuous production using a roll to roll process to produce the display. This makes the displays much cheaper to produce. Once these displays feed into e-book production cheaper readers should begin appearing. At the moment the displays speed is holding it back. With the latest screens refreshing in 1.3 seconds they are still a generation behind the current leader Eink’s AM350 display which can show 5 to 8 frames a second, allowing it to display animation. The colour of the Bridgestone panel is still its leading attribute, not that its spectacular but it is the only e-paper display on the market that can do 4096 colours.
The display wars are heating up, a little e-paper competition is good for us all. Once a decent e-Book reader drops below $200 they will take off, once they drop below $100 everyone will have one.