Images via LG
LG, for reasons no one has been able to really guess yet, decided to wait until after CES to announce their newest digital contraption intended to take the place of newspapers. The 19-inch wide display is just .3 mm thick, and weighs just 4.5 ounces, making it a potentially handy replacement for the daily printed newspaper on a morning subway commute, as shown. But this is just a prototype - LG has other plans for the digital reading device. According to Dvice, LG plans on making the reader just 11.5 inches, and plans to have it out by the end of June. But there's zero excitement attached to this in the blogosphere, likely because the odds of it really coming out or being a competitor with devices like tablet readers are slim to none.
The reader has e-ink technology mounted on a metal foil surface to make it flexible. Whether or not that flexibility is part of the reading experience, such as folding up a corner in order to turn the page, or if it's just a feature to set it apart from the common rigid e-readers, we aren't sure.
And the environmental impacts of this are unknown. Exactly how recyclable is this? How power-hungry? And can any news paper be downloaded on to it? Which are available? These are important questions for us to know if this is an improvement upon paper, or if this is yet another pile of energy-sucking e-waste. Tough to get excited about it when there isn't some sort of lifecycle analysis to go off of.
Quoted in Digitimes, "CTO and executive VP of LG Display, In Jae Chung said, "Our development of the world's largest flexible display has opened up a new market in the next-generation display sector of e-paper. As the e-paper market is growing at a rapid pace, LG Display will continue to deliver new value to customers and the market through industry-leading technologies and differentiated products."
The e-paper market is indeed growing rapidly, hitting an estimated $2 billion by 2015. And that's exactly why we have to be concerned, asking companies to come out with LCAs and recycling plans alongside new products like this.
We'll see what happens with this reader, but considering that magazine readers and tablet devices are expected to dominate the market, it is unlikely that we'll see these really take off. And that's probably a good thing.
More on e-Readers
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