Electronic Paper’s Green Credentials Will Boost Adoption

Almost every company are into green computing nowadays. Manufacturers and consumers are thinking of ways to cut cost and how to save the environment at the same time, and going green is like hitting two birds with one stone so to speak.

According to a new report from Gartner Inc., the use of electronic paper, also known as ’e-paper’, is increasing as a result of its ultra low power consumption, a similar user experience to real paper and ’green’ benefits.

E-paper is a display medium intended to mimic the appearance or ordinary ink on paper while being rewritable. Gartner said that despite disadvantages of poor colour and refresh rate characteristics, e-paper will have significant benefits over other display media and will positively impact the traditional paper market, the retail display sector, a number of consumer markets and the office environment in years to come.

E-paper also has the advantage of providing a similar user experience to real paper display. Its thinness gives users the benefits of a portable, paper-thin rewritable display while its readability in bright sunlight gives a similar user experience to that of reading a paper display.

According to Gartner, low power consumption is the main driver for e-paper adoption in most cases and this is enabling initial applications in signage (for retail and roadside applications), static displays (e-books) and small information-centric screens. Low power consumption also boosts e-paper’s green credentials. Its potential environmental benefits are significant, resulting in the saving of trees, preventing the generation of waste water and reducing the emissions of green house gases.

Despite these benefits, there are a number of disadvantages to e-paper that must be overcome in order for it to gain more widespread adoption. Overall, e-paper content is limited and the current colour capabilities of e-paper displays are poor. E-paper is also typically weak in its handling of moving images and a compromise must be found between the requirements for full-motion video and low power consumption.

Gartner believes that the cost of e-paper displays will need to fall further if it is to act as a viable mainstream alternative to print media, especially as the falling costs and increasing quality of alternative technologies – such as OLED and LCD – could moderate the growth potential of e-paper.

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