Tuesday, July 10, 2007

e-paper set to boom, but only if it gets colourful

The e-paper display business will surpass US$2.0bn a year in five year and surpass $4 billion in 2014 according to a new report from market researchers NanoMarkets. It expects that the arrival of high-quality colour e-paper technology, better encapsulation and the ability to print large e-paper displays will create new opportunities in smart shelves, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, cell phone displays and disposable electronics.

Key findings include:
· Colour is the next big thing: Colour will enable e-paper to penetrate deeper into certain market segments including cell phone displays and signage and it will also help e-paper compete directly with OLED or LCD displays. The first e-paper technology developer able to commercialize colour e-paper at a reasonable price is likely to grab a huge share of the market
· Non-electrophoretic materials to gain market share: Both liquid crystals and electrochromic materials will grow in importance as platforms for e-paper, although e-paper displays based on electrophoretic materials will continue to take the largest share of the market. By 2014 e-paper made with electrophoretic materials will have reached almost $2.0 billion, with liquid crystal based e-paper at $1.5 billion and electrochromic e-paper at just under a $1.0 billion.
· More e-paper in cell phones: Cell phone sub-displays - and eventually main displays - are the high-volume opportunities for e-paper firms. Motorola has already been quite successful with its Motophone, the first cell phone to use e-paper. The best thing that e-paper makers have on their side in the cell phone market is the ability of their displays to be read in sunlight, an advantage that no other display technology can provide. By 2014 the cell phone sector will generate $763 million in e-paper display revenues.
· E-paper perfect for pricing displays: Smart shelves and POP displays are a "tremendous opportunity" for e-paper, enabling stores to change shelf prices from a central location for promotions, adjust for changes in wholesale pricing and make corrections when pricing on the shelves is incorrect. E-paper's low power consumption means this displays can be run from batteries and its flexibility makes it easy to fix to shelves and walls. By 2014, NanoMarkets expects e-paper to generate $1.2 billion from this sector.

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