From a modest figure of $34 million this year, the market for flexible displays is set to grow to be worth $2.4 billion in 2015 and as much as $30 billion in 2020.
That’s according to a research report from Displaybank, and the main driver of growth in the market will be e-books and advertising until 2011.
But after that date, flexible displays will have an alternative use in mobile phones, according to the research outfit.
The figures, however, are predicated on companies successfully developing display devices, backplanes, substrate, material, process technology and manufacturing equipment, said Displaybank.
The ideal specs for flexible displays includes e-paper which is thin, light, rugged, flexible, foldable, and bendable. Many vendors are already working on such specifications. Earlier this year, Plastic Logic said that it was readying a colour version of its flexible product, the QUE ProReader.
The following chart is courtesy of Displaybank, and shows the phenomenal growth in flexible displays it forecasts.
Plastic Logic said that it’s likely a colour version of the QUE ProReader will be ready for action towards the end of next year.
And it also confirmed that the black and white version, which it showed off at this year’s CES, will be available to buy in June – the 3G version will cost around the $700 mark.
Plastic Logic – a spin off from the Cavendish Labs in Cambridge, has a flexible display which consumes very little power. 1,000 content providers have already signed up to collaborate on the ProReader including the Wall Street Journal and several scientific journals.
The device, showed off by the company here at Dresden, weighs less than 500 grams, is shatterproof, thin, uses touch navigation and a wi-fi connection.
The company said that earlier delays to the black and white version were because it wanted to ensure process stability and had to change a few of the process steps.
The problems with a colour version are that Plastic Logic wants to keep the flexibility of the product and is already cooperating with other unnamed companies to make colour filters on plastic foil and merge flexible colour filters with its own flexible display.
The company said that it had a number of other applications in mind for its technology, including advertising, and that as it ramped volume products could become significantly cheaper because the transistor used in the process is relatively simple and avoided the complexities of other designs.