The era of digital paper approaches

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January 5, 2007 The era of digital paper where we will wirelessly connect to purchase and download a book or pick up the latest edition of a newspaper is approaching fast with the news that Plastic Logic is to build the first commercial scale factory to manufacture plastic electronics. The facility will produce flexible active-matrix display modules for "take anywhere, read anywhere" electronic reader products - thin, light, robust active-matrix displays that offer a reading experience closer to paper than any other technology. “The battery will last for thousands of pages so you can leave your charger at home," said Plastic Logic CEO John Mills. The facility, to be built in "Silicon Saxony" at Dresden in Eastern Germany will be initially capable of producing a million display modules per year and production will start in 2008 and ramp from there. This capacity will enable the creation of some radical new product concepts in a wide range of applications including flexible displays and sensors. Independent experts from IDTechEx forecast plastic electronics will be a US$30 billion industry by 2015, and could reach as much as US$250 billion by 2025. What sort of new gadgets will be possible? Well just check out the image gallery of concept products (pictured) that range from digital passports to boarding passes to maps to menus to any form where the printed word needs to be updatable … amazing new possibilities and efficiencies and every page read helps save a tree.

To fund this comprehensive commercialization program, Plastic Logic has completed a first closing of US$100 million of equity finance led by Oak Investment Partners and Tudor Investment Corporation. The financing is one of the largest in the history of European venture capital. Existing investors Amadeus, which led the seed financing of Plastic Logic, Intel Capital, Bank of America, BASF Venture Capital, Quest for Growth and Merifin Capital also participated.

“Even in this age of pervasive digital content, our research shows that consumers are very reluctant to read on laptops, phones and PDAs,” said Simon Jones, Vice President of Product Development at Plastic Logic. “We still carry around enormous amounts of paper. However, people are making less room in their lives for the weight and bulk of paper and are becoming more sensitive to the environmental impact of printing to read. We believe there is a substantial unfulfilled need that Plastic Logic can meet by making digital reading a comfortable and pleasurable experience.”

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