Xerox is set to announce a new material today, which will allow the creation of printed plastic transistors, enabling manufacturers to make inexpensive, lightweight, flexible displays for mobile phones, notebooks and televisions, according to a report in the New York Times.

Beng Ong, a research fellow at Xerox Research, will announce the experimental polymer at the Materials Research Conference in Boston. The substance can be used to make organic transistors on a plastic substrate.

The benefits of the new material will be seen first in the manufacturer of screens for mobile devices, which Xerox claim will be much more robust, so they won't break if a device is dropped.

"Think of the value of a laptop or cellphone display you could drop without breaking. Making a cellphone or a PDA that you could sit on is a no-brainer", Xerox researcher, Raj Apte told the New York Times.

The new material is an improvement on previous organic semiconductors, as unlike these, it doesn't decay on exposure to air, said Xerox.

Xerox is not the only company to be working on this technology and display manufacturer, E-Ink plans to bring out its first plastic-based display next year.