DEMOfall 08: Plastic Logic creates a flexible and thin display

Plastic Logic has the first gee-whiz technology — a digital book reader based on plastic electronics — at DEMOfall 08. In the making for 10 years, the Plastic Logic Reader is like the Amazon Kindle electronic book reader but it uses a razor-thin display that is made out of plastic.

That’s right. It’s actually made of transistors that have been laid down on top of plastic and so it’s much lighter than any other electronic device. It should also have a large display size and great battery life. Plastic electronics have been in the works for a long time. The issue has been making the transistors as fast as anything on traditional silicon substrates. It’s nice to see it coming to fruition.

The Plastic Logic Reader is a touch-screen device that you can display newspaper pages, books, pictures and other black-and-white images on. You can annotate the display with your own marks. The display is pretty rugged and you can bend it. Try that with a glass display. The reader takes about 3/4 of a second to change pages, about as fast as an Amazon Kindle. It uses the E-Ink solution.

Joe Eschbach, chief executive, said that the costs of plastic electronics should come down over time to something like 40 percent of the cost of silicon. That’s because it doesn’t need expensive ovens to process the plastic or require a lot of processing steps.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company competes with Sony (the Sony Reader), Amazon, and Philips Electronics. Polymer Vision is also making a foldable plastic display in a phone called the Readius. The plastic electronics industry is forecast to be a $30 billion industry by 2015, according to IDTechEX. The company’s factory will start rolling out the plastic in September and the reader will be on the market in the second quarter of 2009.

The company raised a $50 million round led by Oak Investment Partners and Amadeus Capital Partners. To date, the company has raised more than $200 million.

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