Bridgestone Makes Full-scale Entry Into E-paper Business

Jul 1, 2009
Takuya Otani, Nikkei Electronics
The fast screen refresh speed of the prototype e-paper enables a pen-input capability.
The fast screen refresh speed of the prototype e-paper enables a pen-input capability.
[Click to enlarge image]
A prototype e-paper showcased at an exhibition in April 2009.
A prototype e-paper showcased at an exhibition in April 2009.
[Click to enlarge image]

Bridgestone Corp will begin its electronic paper (e-paper) business in earnest for electronic book readers, planning to announce the details in July or August 2009.

The company has been developing e-paper by using its proprietary material called "electron powder and granular material." Thus far, it has mass-produced e-paper intended for limited applications such as inventory tags.

This time, Bridgestone developed e-paper suited for electronic book readers and plans to start shipments. In addition, the company will prepare a development kit to market the e-paper to a wide range of users including device manufacturers.

The newly-developed e-paper, when its size is A4, can rewrite the screen in 0.8 seconds, which is ten times faster than the company's previous e-paper. So, it realizes a faster screen refresh speed.

"For previous applications, including inventory tags, our customers did not require a fast screen refresh speed," Bridgestone said. "However, it is an important capability for e-book readers."

According to the company, the faster response speed enabled to operate the e-paper without feeling a sense of discomfort even if a touch panel is combined.

The faster screen refresh speed was realized by changing the driving method, not by improving the e-paper material. Specifically, the pattern of applying voltage was optimized to "reduce waste," Bridgestone said.

The company will also offer a colored version of the e-paper by combining the black-and-white e-paper with an RGBW-type color filter based on a glass substrate.