Much has been said and written about the future of paper publications with the arrival of downloadable books, Kindles and a whole world of other hardware, but maybe a company from Cambridge (UK for a change now I am back in Europe) may be about to cause another revolution.
Many people are not drawn to reading books in digital, they like to thumb the pages etc, but a private company is putting what they describe as the ‘future of paper’ into mass production.
The company called Plastic Logic have designed what we could describe as the closest thing to paper that can show video.
As the name suggests we are talking about a plastic paper-thin sheet that has the ability to display video, It can be used as a Wi-Fi fed screen, with the advantages of being flat, thin, flexible and bigger than your standard reader.
This video on the BBC website describes the product in greater detail, including the production process, and states that it should be in full production next year. The CEO of the company also explains the problems that this technology has faced during development as well as explaining why we might need a screen that we can roll up and carry around. He also describes how the computer and receiver part of the structure could be attached in the form of a handle.
All very interesting stuff, but I think the most important part of this application involves telephones. I have a so-called smart phone but I very rarely use it for internet work because the screen is too small. I cannot read an article on a screen that size. But if I had an A4 size screen rolled up in my bag that could show me the screen on a much larger scale (via Bluetooth) I would be happy to use it. And then I could leave my laptop at home.
Others see it as the future for glossy magazines, or the death of them, but the death of newspapers, radio, books, recorded music and commercial TV has been on the cards for a long time, and they are all still alive and kicking.
I look forward to this new product going into full production and appearing in the shops anyway, and the obvious question…. would you have a use for it?