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E-paper lights up, but is its future bright?

Despite the increasing number of prototype products and small-scale implementations, it's hard to see electronic paper making it big anytime soon. Still, it's always worth keeping an eye on the latest developments in the field, such as those from E Ink of the US.

Among other things, the company used the Flat Panel Display International show in Yokohama last week to highlight one real product and one breakthrough in e-paper - a watch and a new form of lighting [Subscription link], respectively.

Design it yourself

The watch, developed with Hong-Kong-based Art Tech, appears to be a simple timepiece with an e-paper face in place of regular numbers or indicators. Although it does nothing more than switch between different patterns, the idea of a customisable watch is likely to have novelty appeal when it goes on sale in December.

Slightly more practical, however, is the first front-lit electronic paper to be developed. E Ink developed the technique to allow its products to be read in low-light conditions; something not possible with standard, reflective e-paper. Or normal paper, come to that - we're still not convinced.