It's pretty clear to anyone that one of the hottest areas of consumer technology right now is in the world of new displays - hardly a day goes by when we don't report on developments in high-definition, next-generation backlighting or new manufacturing materials. It's in the latter field that Sony Japan 's impressive new flexible electronic paper display squarely falls.

Although considerably smaller than the A4 e-paper from LG Philips LCD that we saw last week, Sony's prototype 2.5-inch OLED can show far more colours - 16.7 million compared to the Koreans' 4.096. At 0.3mm thin both new displays are evenly matched on the thickness front.

Future pointers

On the downside, with a resolution of 160 x 120 pixels the Sony e-paper isn't the sharpest in its class but the high colour count made possible by using OLED instead of normal LCD technology makes it more likely to be coveted by the lucrative advertising sector than duller alternatives.

As for other uses, a previous Sony UK concept device might give a few hints as to what will be possible in future. The Gummi featured a similarly flexible display that could be used to issue commands in place of hardware buttons - just flex the whole device one way or another to tell it what to do.

Lastly, don't forget to check out this video of the new Sony screen in action on Japanese television yesterday.