Displays that don't need backlighting are closer than ever. Kodak and Toshiba's American arm were among the companies who announced developments and displayed new wares in the OELD (organic electroluminescent display), also known as OLED (organic light-emitting diode) field on Monday and Tuesday at the Society for Information Display conference being held in Boston.

OELDs are displays that emit their own light, therefore requiring less power to drive them and less space to house them, as well as offering sharper, brighter images than their traditional LED counterparts.

OELDs, which do not require the backlight that many traditional displays do, are seen by many as one of the futures of low-power, flat display technologies.

At the show Toshiba demonstrated what it claims is the world's first 17in polymer OELD display.

The display sports a maximum resolution of 1,280x768 pixels and offers over 256,000 colours, Toshiba said in a statement.

The display is intended as a research and development item; its actual mass production and availability remains undetermined, the company said. Such a display could be used as a computer screen, in televisions and in other similar applications, the company said.

The company also demonstrated a 2.2in, 256,000 colour polymer OELD screen aimed at handhelds and mobile phones.

Kodak, as part of its SK Display joint venture with Sanyo, announced yesterday the availability of an OELD evaluation kit that will allow developers to begin to test and design devices using its displays. The kit will include the Kodak AM550L display, a full-colour, active matrix 2.16in display, an interface board, drivers, cables and instructions, the firm said.

DuPont Displays, and tech firm Clare said on Monday that they would work together on the integrated circuits that are used to control OELDs. The companies have already collaborated on Clare's MXED 301 controller.

DuPont also demonstrated a 4in active matrix colour OELD display designed for Pocket PC devices, as well as a 2.1in, 128x64 screen and a 2.7in, 160x160 screen, designed for small handsets.

The Society for Information Display show runs until Friday in Boston.