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E Ink Unveils Color E-Reader Display

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the convergent-techvolution dept.

Displays 164

Kensai7 writes with news that E Ink, the company who builds the displays used in Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Sony's Reader, has launched a color version of their e-reader screens. It will first be used by a Chinese company called Hanvon Technology. Other companies will be watching and evaluating how well it works before integrating it into their own designs. Quoting: "Unlike an LCD screen, the colors are muted, as if one were looking at a faded color photograph. In addition, E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations. These are reasons Amazon, Sony and the other major e-reader makers are not yet embracing it. Amazon says it will offer color E Ink when it is ready; the company sees color as useful in cookbooks and children’s books, and it offers these books in color through its Kindle application for LCD devices. Sony is also taking a wait-and-see approach."

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"... are not yet embracing it" (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165964)

E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations.

That's true, and it applies to EInk in general, not just color EInk, so...

These are reasons Amazon, Sony and the other major e-reader makers are not yet embracing it.

Really? So Sony PRS and Amazon Kindle must be presently using the magical pixie dust display technology?

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166024)

Those all use black and white(more accurately not quite white) display. This may not be the clearest writing ever, but it indicates a reason why they are not rolling out color eInk in their products.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166146)

That was precisely my point - "cannot handle full-motion video" is not a reason to not use color EInk when you already use B&W EInk in your products, because the latter has the exact same limitation.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (2, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166238)

The quality of the colour is why they're not using it yet. Black and white e-ink is significantly better than the original versions of the product. Only in the last generation or two has it approached print quality in terms of contrast ratio. Undoubtedly, the same will be true of colour e-ink for a while. Presumably, Amazon and others will wait for a generation or two for the technology to improve sufficiently.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166394)

How is the contrast ratio on a recent one?
The latest sony I saw was maybe phonebook quality in that respect. The nook I saw in B&N also looked worse than $7 paperback.

Either way until ebooks cost less than paperbacks I am not interested.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166528)

How is the contrast ratio on a recent one?

For "Pearl" displays (which is what the recently released Kindle 3 and Kindle DX Graphite use), the claimed contrast ratio is 10:1. For paper, it all depends on the quality of both paper and print, but I've seen numbers for books (which are higher than newspapers and the like) which go from 1:10 to 1:15.

Neither Sony nor B&N use the new screens yet. For the older stuff, the contrast is 1:7, IIRC.

Either way until ebooks cost less than paperbacks I am not interested.

They usually cost about twice as cheap on Amazon store - at least those few titles which I've bought there.

That said, you'll need to buy quite a lot to cover for the price of the reader. Right now it's still expensive, so it's all down to whether you are willing to pay for the convenience of having your entire library with you, and a screen which can be read for hours without tiring the eye (any more so than a paper book).

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166726)

What books were these that were 1/2 the price?
I just looked for a random selection and it seemed that the ebook and the paperback are the same price.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166940)

You need to go to the Kindle store section [amazon.com] to see the "special Kindle price". For example, here [amazon.com] is a book for $10 in digital download which goes for $14 in hardcover. Here [amazon.com] is another, with similar savings.

I'm not certain if it applies to all or even most books (the above is also just two random clicks), but it did apply to all books which I've purchased so far. Granted, my selection is mostly the classic sci-fi of 60s-70s, and they may be keeping the prices low for that entire category.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167070)

Ah, old books. You mean books I could get used for $0.02 + shipping.

If I am going to lose the ability to resell and the ability to lend I am sure as heck not paying those prices.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167168)

Um, the links that I gave in my post are not to old books. They're both published in 2010.

What I said is that I personally mostly buy old books, so that's where the bulk of my experience with the store comes from.

Oh, and ebooks you can get for $0 and no shipping, if you know where to look (hint: #bookz @ irc.undernet.org). Of course, the author doesn't see the money, but then he doesn't see it when you buy a used one for $0.02, either. I usually try to find an official digital edition online, but if there's none, or if it is "not accessible from your country", then IRC it is.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167534)

best thing about the kindle version is the author (or copyright holder, depending on how bad the author's deal is it could be the same thing) gets 70% of the money if they price it according to Amazon's price point, 30% if they decide to set their own price.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (3, Informative)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166762)

As far as I know, newer sony readers (PRS-350 and 650) do use pearl displays.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166832)

Yes, that is correct. I just haven't kept an eye on new Sony Reader releases lately, so I didn't know they refreshed the line. Nook will probably follow soon as well.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167478)

My price point was hit for the device when it hit $189. I wanted it because of the convenience to carry books and it is easier for my to hold (low tonality in my hands makes it stressful to hold a book open)

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166552)

The Sony Reader, Nook, Kobo and Kindle all use the exact same display and therefore provide the same quality. The only exception is the Sony Reader Touch, which has a lot of glare due to the touchscreen.

I have a Nook and side by side with a real book, it looks almost exactly like ink on paper. Maybe the one you saw was defective or dirty.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167788)

The new Sony 350/650 Touch models using Pearl have a definite reduction in glare and improvement in clarity over the 600 that I have (but it was only $85 on clearance, and I got the custom Sony cover-with-booklight for another $15 on clearance - both from Target - a week or 2 later, so I can't complain too much ;-) ) I still like the Pixel Qi screen on my OLPC XO better, but 3+ pounds is a bit much to hold...

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166994)

You can get ePub books cheaper than paperbacks, as long as you stick to public-domain books. Project Gutenberg has them available, and there's something like a million from Google readily available for the Nook, and B&N typically has lots on sale for $2.00 or less (what I'm willing to spend on an eBook, all things considered - offer me something reliable and/or tangible, with full First Sale rights, and I'll raise that limit).

I find my Nook very readable, and an excellent way to read a whole lot of excellent, if older, books.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167142)

Either way until ebooks cost less than paperbacks I am not interested.
Why? You're paying for the words, not the media. Personally I love my Kindle. Some of the books I read are pretty large (I'm looking at you Peter F). My Kindle fits in my jacket pocket.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167562)

While you're right that it's the words not the media you're paying for, the problem is the lack of resale/giving away--it's effectively a sizeable price increase even if the nominal price is constant.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166784)

That was precisely my point - "cannot handle full-motion video" is not a reason to not use color EInk when you already use B&W EInk in your products,

"Cannot handle full-motion video" may, though, be a reason (along with price) that, where companies determine that the demand for color is sufficient to drive a decision to produce an e-reader product that does not use B&W e-Ink, the choice is color LCD, not color e-Ink.

The reason not to choose color e-Ink over B&W e-Ink is probably just cost (though there may be display quality issues, as well.)
 

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167028)

I suspect the point being made was that the color e-ink technology is not a perfect fix for all of the kindle's current limitatuions (ie you still wouldn't be able to watch movies on it), and that the actual benefits (periodicals, illistrated books, etc) cause a less cut and dry value proposition (is it really with $100 extera unit to get your books in color?).

Thus they are taking a wate and see aproach because they are expecting that at some point the technology will advance to where the cost is competative but that may not be in time for the next device generation.

Re:"... are not yet embracing it" (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167150)

E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations.

That's true, and it applies to EInk in general, not just color EInk, so...

interestingly, ink (of the non "e" variety) also cannot handle full motion video, At best, it too can show simple animations.

Magazines (3, Informative)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165998)

It says the big US companies are waiting to see whether it will be useful for cookbooks and children's books, but wouldn't the color aspect of it have an immediate market with the magazines and periodicals that those same companies are pushing so hard to distribute on their devices?

Re:Magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166110)

It says the big US companies are waiting to see whether it will be useful for cookbooks and children's books...

Not very good with that pesky "reading comprehension" thing, are we? Go back and re-read that sentence, because what you got from it is not the same as what it actually says.

Re:Magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166204)

It says the big US companies are waiting to see whether it will be useful for cookbooks and children's books...

Not very good with that pesky "reading comprehension" thing, are we? Go back and re-read that sentence, because what you got from it is not the same as what it actually says.

You seem to be pretty good at that pesky "answering a post without really answering it." Go back and re-read your sentence, because what you wrote had zero value.

Re:Magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166790)

It says the big US companies are waiting to see whether it will be useful for cookbooks and children's books...

Not very good with that pesky "reading comprehension" thing, are we? Go back and re-read that sentence, because what you got from it is not the same as what it actually says.

You seem to be pretty good at that pesky "answering a post without really answering it." Go back and re-read your sentence, because what you wrote had zero value.

You seem to be pretty good at that pesky "answering a post without really answering it." Go back and re-read your sentence, because what you wrote had zero value.

Re:Magazines (2, Insightful)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166208)

Right. Color charts in "The Economist" are barely intelligible on Kindle.
So Amazon saying color is just for cookbooks/childrens-books is silly.

Re:Magazines (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167228)

Well, they can't list every application they'd use it in. If they mentioned The Economist charts, would someone in turn complain they didn't mention Forbes's pie charts?

Re:Magazines (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166258)

I took my son sailing on sunday and tried to take a picture in full sunlight with my new android phone. I couldn't see the screen at all. E-paper, even if it is slow and monochrome, would be quite useful in that environment.

Re:Magazines (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166458)

Except that trying to line up a photo on a B&W screen with a 1 fps refresh rate on a rocking-and-pitching boat is easy. Actually, what you needed was an optical viewfinder.

Re:Magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166506)

Actually, what you needed was an optical viewfinder.

Optical Viewfinder? Haven't heard of that one Stop advising me to get some newfangled expensive gizmo that probably costs more than my phone!

Re:Magazines (1)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167048)

heya,

You know, I can't tell if you're being ironic (and hence kudos for being funny), or you actually have no idea...lol....

I used to do a fair bit of photography. Sorry, but from everything I've seen, an optical viewfinder still kicks the pants off of every EVF (electronic view finder) I've seen.

And LCD's are notoriously bad in sunlight. And the small CCDs in camera-phones are bad in low-light, and at the opposite tend of the spectrum, in full-sun, tend to produced washed out shots. (Although you probably have more chance of fixing those than trying to de-noise a grainy low-light shot...lol. Could be wrong there - thoughts?). A cheap Diana camera would probably have done the job better...lol. Sometimes I'm tempted to just drag around a nice, rangefinder or compact along for those spur-of-the-moment shots. Anybody else already carry one, and if so, what model?

Cheers,
Victor

Re:Magazines (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166638)

The problem is the UI. The camera app kept getting itself into a funny mode and I couldn't see enough to reconfigure it. I can point the camera well enough without a viewfinder.

Re:Magazines (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167734)

I can point the camera well enough without a viewfinder.

Then either you're a very good photographer, or a very very bad one who can't tell the difference (or just doesn't care, I suppose).

Re:Magazines (1)

denisfr (1936788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166376)

I think the color is very important. it can make a big difference. http://www.lescommunes.com/ [lescommunes.com]

Re:Magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166500)

Magazines believe that video and interactive content are their future

No, because they are about vibrant color (mostly) (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167964)

Most magazines are very, very fussy about color quality. The muted aspect of the Kindle would probably mean tailoring any images destined for it, a lot of work. The iPad LCD display (or other upcoming tablets) is a lot more like a computer display in terms of how you process images.

So I don't know that many magazines are chomping at the bit for devices that use the new eInk either.

Ban articles that are behind a wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166018)

I am quite annoyed by clicking on articles that lead to either pay-wall sites or sites that require registration. Could you please ban such articles and not refer to them from any slashdot post?

Re:Ban articles that are behind a wall (2, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166252)

The article is not currently behind a pay-wall, and does not currently require registration. But then, you knew that, because you only complained about this after trying to access the article, right?

Re:Ban articles that are behind a wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166540)

It's from the Times, which now means that you can access it once per day without getting a pay-wall, after than single article per day you are slammed with the pay-wall.

Easy way around the pay-wall: privacy mode. Each new session gets its counter reset to zero, at least it did when I tried when the 'first one is always free' thing was started.

Re:Ban articles that are behind a wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167512)

I got a pay-wall when attempting to read the article. I believe its the new "read two articles per day, pay-wall the third" scheme going around. I probably browsed a few NY Times articles earlier today.

Re:Ban articles that are behind a wall (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167764)

You clicked the link? HERETIC! Get thee from our midst before we burn you as the INTARWEBS demand!

I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (5, Insightful)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166050)

..embracing color. Children's books and cookbooks? That's it? Really? What about textbooks? I can see significant increase in e-reader use for textbooks if they had color capability. Not every HS and college student is going to have the luxury of having a pad/slate device. Color provides an extra dimension of information without physical space, pretty useful IMO!

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166232)

..embracing color. Children's books and cookbooks? That's it? Really? What about textbooks? I can see significant increase in e-reader use for textbooks if they had color capability. Not every HS and college student is going to have the luxury of having a pad/slate device. Color provides an extra dimension of information without physical space, pretty useful IMO!

It's because the color is washed out and doesn't look good. You may as well just build an IPad knock-off and have vibrant colors instead. Color eInk just isn't ready for the consumer market yet; it will be, but not this year.

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (2, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166334)

Textbooks and reference material also require faster screens, so that fast page flipping and quickly entering search terms become practical. I use an e-reader for prolongued reading (fiction, etc), but I have an iPad for reference material, textbooks and magazines; simply adding color to the e-reader would not make it good enough for those tasks.

I'd love a device that combines both display technologies. I remember a company called Pixel-Qi working on an LCD that had a backlit and reflective mode. It looked quite decent in both modes on the video I've seen of their screen, but that video seemed to have been shot with an ancient Nokia held by a drunken grandfather with Parkinsons, in other words it was hard to really judge the quality.

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (1)

JO_DIE_THE_STAR_F*** (1163877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167316)

The Adam tablet [notionink.in] by notion ink will have the option for the Pixel-Qi display and it looks like that it will be released for Xmas or early January.

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166382)

I don't know about you, but current eReaders just are not conducive to the way I use textbooks. The half second delay to turn a page is nothing if you're reading from start to finish for pleasure, but would be quite painful if you were trying to browse for pertinent information. The delay also makes typing in search queries awkward and tedious. I'd much rather use a full tablet device with the much faster response time and presumably more processing power available, especially if the book and interface were designed for that use. I love my Kindle, but I couldn't imagine trying to study from it or anything substantially similar to it. Of course, maybe your study habits are different from mine.

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167166)

I think another major factor blocking adoption of digital textbooks will be the elimination of resale. Most people don't bother to resell paperback novels, so the price for a Kindle version vs. a paperback version can be about the same. In contrast, many students DO resell textbooks, so publishers would have to reduce the price of the digital version accordingly - which I'm guessing they'll be very slow to do.

Re:I don't get why the other companies aren't.. (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166778)

Cookbooks are amongst the best-sellers of the publishing world; makes sense that they would be a focus. Anyway, the e-ink display sizes are a tad small for textbooks.

Cookbooks, the code snippets of the food world.

Maybe by not embracing it they mean... (3, Insightful)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166058)

... they want to sell what they have on their shelves and it's way too early to make all the buyers go out and rebuy a planned-obsolescence upgrade. If they wait, they won't anger all their christmas customers with finicky "i'll wait for it" choices.. you know.. for the good of the product.

Re:Maybe by not embracing it they mean... (2, Insightful)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167398)

Though the publishers could compensate their "cost" by offering "color" version of the same book for 2x the price.

Amazon Translation (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166060)

Amazon says it will offer color E Ink when it is ready

AKA, once it can display full-motion videos ^W ADS.

We've heard something similar about today's half-baked HTML5 ^W^W adobe flash replacements from the likes of youtube.

Barking up the wrong tree... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166970)

Amazon's interest in the technology involves replacing their current tech which can't do video either. Say what you will about Amazon, but their philosophy and strategy around Kindle is clear and consistent. Battery life and paper-like contrast and visibility are king. Barnes and Noble went LCD, but Amazon so far seems that they are sticking to E ink. The fact they haven't moved is either because there's some unspecified hit to battery life, the black and white contrast is degraded, or the price is too high for their price point.

Re:Barking up the wrong tree... (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167818)

I have the regular Nook, and I hope B&N does produce a color eInk device. The LCD in their new offering moves the device closer to 'generic 7" Android tablet' than electronic reading (IMHO). I bought the Nook on the strength of its eInk screen (less eyestrain, low power usage, etc), and have not been displeased with it.

Didn't we already make this leap? (1)

jflo (1151079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166076)

For some reason, here I was thinking we made it out of black and white to color a few decades ago. If we as the human race keep taking steps backwards, then we will never have a working warp drive by in Star Trek. Ehhh, I guess we are due for another world war anyway.

Re:Didn't we already make this leap? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166202)

Sorta. We have flat panel lcd screens which show color and motion video, but the battery life on these devices tends to be moderate at best. The promise of eink is to have a device that lasts about a week or two between charges due to a significantly lower power draw. I imagine that we'll start seeing these screens in many devices: smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. There are a couple of emerging screen technologies that are leading in this direction: pixel qi's display and qualcomm's mirasol display. These technologies seem to be about 1-2 years away, which is nice for people who like to read a lot but get annoyed at excessive piles of books and papers.

Re:Didn't we already make this leap? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167908)

The thing about e-ink is it only draws a charge when it changes something on the screen, if you don't update any pixels you don' draw any current. For reading static text that means once a refresh every 1..10 minutes, but if you stick video on the display causing 30 frames per second refreshes to be drawn you can kiss the battery life goodbye.

Re:Didn't we already make this leap? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167922)

It's a fluff piece. Check the E Ink web page, and there is no related announcement. They've been selling colour displays for a while (several years), but there is a problem with them: they have the same number of dots per inch as the monochrome ones. Unfortunately, you need three (or four) colour dots to make a colour pixel, while you only need one monochrome dot to make a monochrome pixel. This means that you get a much smaller number of pixels per inch. This removes a lot of the advantage of eInk.

E INK FTW (2, Interesting)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166112)

The fact that ANY consumer product (nevermind a whole category) has succeeded with black-and-white screens is remarkable, and points towards to some hard to beat advantages of the E Ink technology: they were strong enough to outweigh the fact that on first impression, the screens looks cheap.

With the addition of color (and the assumption of steady improvement to contrast and color gamut), it's entirely possible that e ink will be wrapped on all kind of things -- dashboards, airport signage, ATMs -- where power is an issue.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166406)

Early e-ink displays might have looked cheap, but current e-ink displays look significantly better than an LCD showing a monochromatic image. It looks much more like printed text, and the lack of a backlight makes it easier to read.

That and the low power requirements are, I think, the two major advantages of e-ink. The lack of colour and the low refresh rate are the only major disadvantages.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166768)

The white is still not as good as real paper. I don't mean anything fancy, I mean normal office paper and normal laser printer.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

Naerymdan (870497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166862)

Try to read a truly white piece of matte (non-gloss) paper in direct sunlight in summer... way worst experience than to try and read the Sony PRS-505 ebook reader I have.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166924)

Many books though aren't printed on the bleached paper one typically uses in printers though... I think the largest collection of B&W print on really "white" paper is my shelf of textbooks...

Re:E INK FTW (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167310)

But do you want it to be perfectly white? May be a good idea in a dim environment, but step out into sunlight and that white paper becomes overtly bright, almost blinding. I have an eInk reader with the new Pearl screen, and it is very much improved, and offers excellent contrast in low light.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167948)

I have an iLiad, and the display is about the same quality as newsprint. All other things being equal, I'd prefer a book, but it's a lot more convenient when I'm travelling or when I have a pile of papers that I want to take into the park to read - it's lighter and doesn't get blown away by gusts of wind (at least, not in the kind of weather where I think reading in the park is a good idea).

Re:E INK FTW (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167094)

My son got a new model Kindle on the weekend, I have to say the display is absolutely excellent, way way better than i was expecting. It is easily the best sunlight readable display I have seen.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

thue (121682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166856)

Well, there is a lot of books and PDF files which are nothing but black and white text, for which the current ebook readers are fine. So it is not a surprise to me that ebooks have taken off.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

sehryan (412731) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166992)

This isn't the first time. Remember the original Gameboy? It destroyed pretty much every color competitor that tried to go up against it.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167856)

Those color competitors, IIRC, had severe drawbacks to them in their own right (the Game Gear's larger form factor and needing 6 AAs for it -- reusing your 8-bit Master System design for a handheld was probably not the best idea) and the original Game Boy had deep market penetration. When Nintendo finally did produce a color version of the Game Boy, it was a pretty halfass color screen, but still maintained the platform benefits. Nintendo didn't produce a device with a screen "like" the Game Gear's until the Game Boy Advance; which was able to leverage improved screen tech.

Re:E INK FTW (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167346)

I'm looking forward to when full colour e-ink displays that use zero power to display an image are very cheap and can be made to be as big as a normal poster, they'd be almost perfect for replacing traditional photos/paintings/posters on your walls
The basic ones wouldn't have any battery in them just a connection port you plug a laptop or module into to change the picture and then it stays that way until you want to change it again.
The more advanced ones would have some sort of extremely low power standby wireless connection so with a few clicks on your computer or smartphone you could update one or all of the e-ink pictures/posters in your house.

The only thing to watch out for would be hackers, you wouldn't want to wake up one morning and find all your wall pictures are displaying goatse...

E ink monitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166194)

Would love to eventually see my desktop monitor made with E ink.

Personally... (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166246)

I feel that finding ways to allow the eInk to display motion (without leaving a ghosted image behind)would a more important next step. I would rather have an eReader be able to do that than display color, as you wouldn't have to see it flash the screen every time you need to "turn" a page. After that color would be the next most important thing to me, even still I don't see myself ever needing color on an eReader. But, I wouldn't want to be the one blocking the advance of technology as I'm sure I would eventually see a use for, just like all sorts of people have found a use of having 641K...

Maybe a color eInk screen will be found on all of our little smart phones someday, with an optional back light.

Re:Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166824)

I may be wrong about this, but as I understand it if you're going to be refreshing the eInk display multiple times a second (like with a phone display or video), most of the power consumption advantages go away. The reason why eInk uses so little power is because until you refresh it, the power consumption is 0, as opposed to LCDs and OLEDs which are constantly drawing power for the backlight/display elements. It's great for static text where you only need to change the display once every few seconds. If you start redrawing the eInk screen ~60 times a second, I douby you are going to get days worth of battery life on your mobile device.

Re:Personally... (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167362)

It may not save as much power but even if you have to change the page every second, that's say.... 60 times in a minute vice 3600 times in a minute, which will still draw less power than an LCD/OLED. To humans, a second isn't very long.. to a computer/device.. a second is like a job where you get a 2 minute break every 5 minutes.

What I want for Christmas (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166318)

Virtually indestructible waterproof color e-ink tablet with WiFi and replaceable scratchable surfaces, so I can toss it around like a book.

Bonus round: built in drivers to act as a USB display.

Re:What I want for Christmas (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166930)

Screw USB, let's use DVI or DisplayPort.

Re:What I want for Christmas (1)

Patman64 (1622643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167584)

Just don't try playing your movies on it, or you'll be watching the best Star Wars slide show ever made. ;)

Re:What I want for Christmas (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167396)

Removable/replacable surfaces. But then you'd complain that it's the text is too blurry and not worth your time.

No full motion video... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166332)

... quantitatively, what does that mean? How fast could it update a whole screen? If it's faster than 1/10 of a second, that may not be enough for full video, but it's probably at least fast enough to feel responsive.

TSA bans Color E-Reader on domestic flights (3, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166492)

This just in to the /. news room; The TSA has announced that E Ink Color E-Reader Displays are now banned from domestic flights worldwide. The little electronic eInks might be related to toner in toner cartridges and thus a threat to the safety and sanity of the worldwide local traveling community, at large. A spokesman for the TSA had this to say; "I don't know what all is in there, but those colors could be made to look like a powerful explosion or some such thing, or another. Heck, I just don't like the look of that contraption. It looks like some sort of controller for human zombie robots or somethin'."

PDF support, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166588)

Color or not I just want an E Ink reader that can properly display any PDF. Currently there are none that I know of. There are many that display PDF's (eg. Kindle) but all of them suck at it (no search, no resizing, can't show the PDF in its original form, etc, tons of problems with all of them).

Sure, the iPad or whatever will do it but the battery life sucks on those and the compared to E Ink the display does too.

Re:PDF support, please! (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166792)

uhh. . . on a kindle you can definitely zoom or show a pdf at original size. You can also search, I just did it.

Granted, reading a pdf on a screen that is smaller than the size the document is formatted for does present challenges, but amazon has done a fairly good job.

Re:PDF support, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166936)

I didn't mean that all those problems affect all readers. The Kindle's problem is that there are tons of normal PDF's that it does not render correctly (missing text, images, bizarre formatting issues, etc).

Color before speed? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166650)

FTA:

“Color is the next logical step for E Ink,”

Really? I'd have thought that "refresh rates that aren't measured in epochs" would be the next logical step.

Perhaps they've improved since the last time I picked one up, but it was depressingly unresponsive. That, and the poor contrast ratio, was not really grabbing my attention.

I love the idea of e-ink; using ambient light is both low-power and easier on the eyes. But I don't feel the urge to get one with the current state of the (commercially available) art.

Re:Color before speed? (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166810)

try one of the new 139$ Kindles. much faster and noticeably better contrast.

Re:Color before speed? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167112)

Been thinking about it, how fast?
Can one flip the page when you get to the bottom or is it still flip at the midpoint?

Are they Nook and Amazon ebooks cross compatible?

Re:Color before speed? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167474)

Speed is really a minor issue. It only needs to be as fast as flipping a page for a reader. Color and IMHO resolution is a major issue.
I subscribe to Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Rider, and Classic Motorcycle. They are about the only magazines I still read.
Without high resolution color screens they are not going to be on an Ereader. Same for Car and Driver, Road and Track, Popular Science and so on.

Re:Color before speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167738)

i have the latest kindle, and i would say the pages flip in about 0.6 - 0.8 seconds. i hit the next page button when i'm finished reading the last sentence, because if i flip it early i'll have to go back. i've also used some of the older ones, which were so bad i didn't buy one until this latest generation appeared. the kobo or something you can buy in canada is awful for response times. I wouldn't even take it home if they gave it away free with every starbucks latte. the newest kindle at least is honestly not much slower than physically flipping a page.

the added convenience of being able to buy a new book when i finish my current one with 2 hours left to wait in the docs office or something similar, and the ability to carry loads of books, pdfs, magazines, pdf copies of my references books etc, made it a great deal for me.

What about Pixel Qi? (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166718)

Haven't they had relatively low power, daylight-readable color screens for a while? The question is how their power drain compares to e-ink. When the Notion Ink Adam comes out, we'll see if it's a viable replacement for a real e-reader.

Re:What about Pixel Qi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167852)

OLPC XO - can last 3-4 hours on a charge, but 3+ pounds is a bit heavy if you cannot prop it on something (although your lap is fairly handy ;-)

bi7ch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166730)

Won't be shou7ing

Support when ready? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166876)

From what I know, B/W E-Ink doesn't do smooth animations and full motion video either, so I don't understand why Sony or Amazon are not jumping on using color E-Ink displays.

I think you got to understand the target market better. If you want full color, high resolution, smooth animation/video displays, then use LCD or OLED technology. If you want an e-book reader with color graphics and simple interactive graphs, then use E-Ink.

I think the biggest failure of E-Ink will be to try and compete with LCD. They are already years behind in being able to match what LCD or OLED technology can offer, so if Sony or Amazon is waiting for E-Ink to match those spec's then they will be waiting for a good long time. I don't believe E-Ink will ever replace or compete with LCD or OLED, period. It should be used in cheap pupose driven devices not expensive jack-of-all-trade devices.

Perfect for arcade cabinets. (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166912)

Make the damn thing so that we can cut it to a desired size and easily control it without needing an expensive built-in or external controller and everyone who builds arcade cabinets will finally have dynamic marquees that looks almost as real as the real thing.

LCD panels may be more bright, but you can't easily cut that. Normal marquees may be backlit but it's not quite the same as LCD.

Plus, we'll be able to have slightly rounded dynamic marquees, instead of being limited to flat ones like with LCD.

Re:Perfect for arcade cabinets. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167294)

I don't think E-ink displays can be cut any more easily than LCDs. Similarly, wishing to 'magic away' the controlling electronics doesn't seem a feasible request.

Ultimately, I doubt any of these technologies would be a convincing replica for backlit colored plastic if you are going for accuracy, though LCD might come closest by virtue of being the only one to be based on translucency rather than emission or reflection, though I don't think it would mimick it accurately anyway.

Disappointed that e-paper printers never worked (1)

MCRocker (461060) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167132)

Although I love my Alex eReader [springdesign.com] , I am little disappointed that e-paper is being used as a display instead of being used like paper like it was originally conceived.

The basic idea was that you'd get a special electrostatic printer that you'd load with a ream of e-paper and print out your documents as usual, then, when you're done with a document just return it to the hopper so that some other document could be printed on it. It was supposed to be the ultimate recyclable paper.

I suppose that it was never really likely that e-paper would reach the price point where such a thing would be reasonable, but it was an interesting concept.

Even though people complained that computers, not only didn't hearken the arrival of the paperless office, but actually increased the amount of paper that was used, I think that the trend is going the other way and people are beginning to print less and less. So, the demand peak for a product like this has likely passed and few would see it as a valuable option.

Re:Disappointed that e-paper printers never worked (1)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167920)

The problem with e-paper's original vision is that printouts would likely get bent or torn or whatever, and then put back in the printer, which would then jam on the damaged paper. I like the idea, but I don't think it's practical.

color e-ink killer app: digital picture frames (5, Interesting)

chappel (1069900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167232)

I've been waiting for years for color e-ink to mature enough to make a good digital picture frame. Something cheap, lightweight, with great viewing angles, daylight readable, non-reflective, awesome resolution, takes no power in between refreshes - heck, you could set it to only switch 1x day and run it for a year on a small battery.

Sounds like they are getting closer - keep at it, guys!

THIS IS GREAT!!! (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167460)

Yesterday's technology available... TODAY!!! ~rimshot~

FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167936)

Registration/pay wall fail.

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