Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) Tokyo, Japan; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, Mass., March 24, 2004 –and E Ink Corporation announced today the world’s first consumer application of an electronic paper display module in Sony’s new e-Book reader, LIBRI’e, scheduled to go on sale in Japan in late April. This first ever Philips’ display utilizes E Ink’s revolutionary electronic ink technology which offers a truly paper-like reading experience with contrast that is the same as newsprint.
The Electronic Paper Display is reflective and can be easily read in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments while being able to be seen at virtually any angle – just like paper. Its black and white ink-on-paper look, combined with a resolution in excess of most portable devices at approximately 170 pixels per inch (PPI), gives an appearance similar to that of the most widely read material on the planet – newspaper. Because the display uses power only when an image is changed, a user can read more than 10,000 pages before the four AAA batteries need to be replaced. The unique technology also results in a compact and lightweight form factor, allowing it to be ideal for highly portable applications.
Sony’s e-Book reader LIBRI’e, the first device to utilize Philips’ display solution for enhanced reading, is similar in size and design to a paperback book. LIBRI’e allows users to download published content, such as books or comic strips from the Internet, and enjoy it anywhere at any time. LIBRI’e can store up to 500 downloaded books.
“In today’s mobile world, we know that the quality of the experience and ease-of-use are important in driving consumer adoption of mobile devices. Up until now, consumers have been less willing to adopt e-reading applications because of poor display quality on cumbersome devices,” said Mr. Yoshitaka Ukita, general manager, e-Book Business Dept, Network Application & Content Service Sector, Sony Corp. “This display solution provides a level of text clarity comparable to paper. Combined with our thin, lightweight device design, this novel e-Book reader offers users an enjoyable experience and the freedom to access material at their convenience.”
“While the way people experience entertainment has changed dramatically with the rapid growth of portable entertainment devices like music and movie players, the way people read books, magazines and newspapers has not,” said Jim Veninger, general manager, Emerging Display Technology, Philips Electronics. “The precision of this new high-resolution electronic ink display technology will revolutionize the way consumers read and access textual information.”
The commercialization of this revolutionary display technology is a result of a strategic collaboration started in 2001 among E Ink Corporation, Toppan Printing and Philips, together with Sony. Over the past 3 years, the four companies have made significant developments in manufacturing the world’s first high-resolution electronic ink-based display module designed specifically for reading-intensive applications.
E Ink Corporation supplies electronic ink to their manufacturing partner, Toppan Printing, who in turn processes the ink into a thin film. Philips integrates E Ink’s film with an active matrix backplane and adds the driving electronics component. Philips works with Sony to co-develop and customize display solutions for innovative mobile devices.
“E Ink is thrilled that our first commercial launch is in a product by Sony,” said Russell Wilcox, president of E Ink Corporation. “Since the inception of our company, our goal has been to change the way people receive and view information. The strength of our partnerships with Philips and Toppan Printing have helped made this dream a reality.”
The longstanding partnership has resulted in more than 100 patents between all of the companies in a wide range of innovations including chemistry, electronics and manufacturing processes.