Saturday, October 22, 2005

Siemens joining the digital paper race

Siemens has joined E-Ink/Philips and Fujitsu in the race for digital paper. It recently showed the result of its research. In a press release they indicate that they will be ready operationally in 2007 and speculate that the price for a newspaper page will be around 44 euro.

So far E-Ink/Philips already produce digital paper outside the laboratory. Fujitsu aims to produce digital paper commercially in 2006. And by 2007 Siemens will join.

Top left is E-Ink/Philips b/w digital paper; Tope right is Fujitsu colour didgital paper; Under is a sample of Siemens digital paper

What will be the effect of this development? When Xerox started its digital paper project it aimed at advertising with long banners and big fonts. E-Ink set the trend to digital paper for application in e-Books; Philips brought in the substrate technology and now Sony is selling e-Books with digital paper. The paper is only black and white, but will be in colour by 2008. But there are more applications. Watchmakers like Seiko and Citizen are using the digital paper already for its new watches. Siemens has not indicated the area of application. (In fact Siemens has not given any technical details, marketing perspective or commercial insight, except for the price per page. It looks like the company had just picked up the technology and had to bring it to the press to either impress the shareholders or use it at a show.)

Japanese e-newspaper on display

Seiko watch with digital paper screen

Mobile with digital paper screen

The marketing environment has already longed for this type of screens. One of the examples used is the milk pack, laminated with digital paper, which is used for advertising or social purposes (missing children).Undoubtedly many new types of marketing actions can be executed with this digital paper. But the technology will have to work (condense in the fridge), the price has to be the same or lower than normal paper and the use of the digital paper will have to be very innovative.

For the time being I bet that that the publishing world will be the favourite exploiter of this technology.

No comments: