Thursday, March 15, 2007
Polymer Vision Readius
Kicking back, cup of tea in hand, around December time in 2005, a feature on Channel 5's rather wonderful 'Gadget Show' caught my attention. The presenters were at a technology convention (can't remember which, through the foggy haze of time) and had a representative of Philips keen to show off a brand new development. The Dutch tinkermeisters had a working model of an almost paper-thin screen which could be used with mobile phones. It operated using 'electronic ink' and could fold in on itself, making it very space-efficient. The disadvantage, if I remember rightly, was that the screen was not backlit and couldn't deal with much in the way of detail.
Fast forward a year (and a bit) and the mobile phone market is dominated by Apple's vision of a touchscreen handset. To my mind, the fuss about the iPhone and similar Prada Phone overshadows the most influential portable electronic device released this year, which is the Polymer Vision Readius. Don't get me wrong, the Apple will sell thousands of times as many units as the Polymer Vision device, but this little beauty represents the future.
The device is not a phone (although it is EDGE and UMTS compatible) but this technology is bound to transfer into the mobile market in coming years. The screen is also not up to the demands of the modern mobile consumer, but this very new technology can't be expected to match the image quality of its clunkier bretheren just yet. The screen is slow to update and cannot handle moving images. Yet.
The prospect of folding screens is a fascinating one. In years to come, how would you feel about reading an electronic newspaper that folded out from your mobile phone, or perhaps watching the football on a decent sized-screen which weighed less than a pair of shinpads?
Interesting developments indeed...