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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Whatever happened to flexible screens?

One question I was asked over the New Year was 'whatever happened to the flexible screens that you can roll up and put in your pocket - that would be great!'
So coming back to look at the electronics market in 2007, the first announcement is on just that - Plastic Logic, one of the key pioneers in screen printing plastic transistors onto flexible substrates, has raised $100m and is building a factory in Dresden in Germany to build the screens.
The Cambridge-based company has been working away on the technology, raising the resolution to 150 dpi (as most images on the PC screen are 72 or 96dpi, that should be good enough but better than the previous 100 dpi) and working on the contrast (absolutely vital to make the screen as readable as possible) and the reliability (a major issue if you keep rolling the screen up).
The company aims to provide the 150dpi 10inch screens in volume in 2008.

The funding round is one of the biggest in Europe, and was led by Oak Investment Partners and Tudor Investment Corporation. Existing investors Amadeus, which led the seed financing of Plastic Logic, Intel Capital, Bank of America, BASF Venture Capital, Quest for Growth and Merifin Capital also participated.
“Having backed Plastic Logic from day one, I am delighted that the first full commercialization of plastic electronics is now firmly in our sights. With this investment we are not only scaling up a great company - we are also creating a new electronics industry that will become a significant addition to silicon,” said Hermann Hauser, Director of Amadeus.

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