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E Ink Demos New Displays, Gadgets At IFA 2011

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the dead-tree-salvation dept.

Displays 221

An anonymous reader writes "E Ink turned up at IFA 2011 with its Triton color e-paper, which has exactly the same properties as the monochrome version found in the Kindle (two-month battery life, no power use when viewing a page, as readable as a sheet of paper) while adding 4,096 colors. We also get to see the E Ink watch, signage, cellphone and USB stick displays, and the latest glass-less e-paper inside a credit card. E Ink hopes to use the new plastic substrate in future e-readers, meaning they will be thinner, lighter, and more shatterproof than those that ship today."

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221 comments

Just in time... (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313214)

Not more than two days ago, my wife (a librarian) saw a color e-reader (using a backlit LCD), and mentioned that it'd be great for children's books. I said that e-ink was probably a better option, because the reader could use less power when a distracted kid leaves it turned on. Now, there's hope for the benefits of both!

Re:Just in time... (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313300)

The problem I have with e-ink is the distracting negative flash as the screen resets to the new page. Or when scrolling... or when doing anything, really. Very annoying indeed.

Re:Just in time... (3, Funny)

fmrbastien (1334213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313330)

The problem I have with paper is the distracting animation when I flip the page. Or when the wind flips the page... or when doing anything, really. Very annoying indeed.

I'm convinced! (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313364)

Backlit LCD it is.

Re:I'm convinced! (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314366)

You forget the obvious alternative; a single long stretch of paper. It could be rolled up to make it portable. Now THAT would be progress!

Re:I'm convinced! (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314472)

Perhaps you could roll from both ends to achieve a "scrolling" look mimicking modern computer displays. It'd give a high tech feeling to your idea!

Re:I'm convinced! (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314482)

Problem with that is that wood-pulp paper goes brittle over time - so such a book would eventually reach a point where as soon as you open it it will fall apart.

However, I understand you can make a paper-like material from the pith of the papyrus plant - I wonder if you could print onto that...

Re:Just in time... (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313320)

The one distinctive feature of children's books is the thick cardboard cover and thick pages, because children aren't exactly known for their carefulness.

I'm not sure how a E-ink device would fare after a few months of being aggressively fingered, scratched, thrown, banged, sat and vomited upon, especially considering that, unlike a real book that would be used occasionally and then shelved, an e-book would used all the time, precisely because it can display any book.

Re:Just in time... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313512)

From an early age I was taught respect for books. I do not know of any books that were damaged or destroyed in my care as a child.

Certainly if I had thrown a book I would have been punished.

Re:Just in time... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313518)

being aggressively fingered, scratched, thrown, banged, sat and vomited upon

Like your mama?

Re:Just in time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314142)

You'd be impressed at how well you can protect smartphone hardware with minimal/extreme expenditure. I mean throw-it-at-the-ground-and-survive-undamaged protection. Or use-it-daily-and-look-brand-spanking-new-12-months-later protection. I dunno about the status of aftermarket mods with the e-readers though... it's probably not so diversified.

Re:Just in time... (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313368)

Yes that is why i love my sony reader more for ebooks than my android tablet. I am a distracted kid.

Re:Just in time... (2)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313376)

I wonder if we'll see a resurgence in comic books / graphic novels. There'll always be a market for physical comic books but I think there's a much larger audience out there who would enjoy the stories but don't want to spend the money collecting them. I know there's iPad apps for that sort of thing but I think a colour Kindle is much more appealing, and the 4096-colour range of this E Ink screen would be well suited to the artwork style.

Refresh rate? (1)

dudeman500 (1535479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313244)

Not too fussed about colour but would be nice to be able to flick through an ebook as you would a paper one

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313282)

Not too fussed about colour but would be nice to be able to flick through an ebook as you would a paper one

LOL. Just from curiosity, since I'm seeing you a tad worried, what is your rate "page-flicks per seconds"?

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313304)

I can see screen update speed being an issue when you're looking through the pages of a manual as opposed to casually reading a book.

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

dudeman500 (1535479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313348)

Sorry, i meant a not an .

Re:Refresh rate? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313360)

I can see screen update speed being an issue when you're looking through the pages of a manual as opposed to casually reading a book.

Looks [e-ink-info.com] like a value of 6fps [e-ink-info.com] - at an even lower speed, I don't thing thing browsing a book would create problems (comparison terms: the old silent movies were shot at anywhere from 12 to 26 fps, the standard is now at 24 fps).

Re:Refresh rate? (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313702)

Movies don't have the interstitial effects. Or at least much less so. For a movie 24 fps means 24 frames displayed; the time to change a frame is much less than 1/24th of a second. For a screen like this 6fps means 6 frames displayed, but also implies that the time to change a frame is 1/6th or a second.

This is also exactly why gamers waited so long to ditch those CRTs and started using flat screens. The refresh rate was too slow.

Not that I think it's a problem for books (mostly static images), but you can't fully compare it to movies.

Re:Refresh rate? (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313982)

Motion picture frames change 24 times per second. However, each frame is displayed twice, so 48 images are displayed each second. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_projector#Shutter [wikipedia.org]

A commonly held misconception is that film projection is simply a series of individual frames dragged very quickly past the projector's intense light source; this is not the case. If a roll of film were merely passed between the light source and the lens of the projector, all that would be visible on screen would be a continuous blurred series of images sliding from one edge to the other. It is the shutter that gives the illusion of one full frame being replaced exactly on top of another full frame. A rotating petal or gated cylindrical shutter interrupts the emitted light during the time the film is advanced to the next frame. The viewer does not see the transition, thus tricking the brain into believing a moving image is on screen. Modern shutters are designed with a flicker-rate of two times (48 Hz) or even sometimes three times (72 Hz) the frame rate of the film, so as to reduce the perception of screen flickering. (See Frame rate and Flicker fusion threshold.)

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314068)

This is also exactly why gamers waited so long to ditch those CRTs and started using flat screens. The refresh rate was too slow.

Uh no. It took so long to ditch CRTs and use flat screens because of price. That's the one and only reason. 60Hz should be enough for anybody.

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313432)

Fortunately this is in large part compensated for by the ability to search for keywords.

Re:Refresh rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313756)

'..when you're looking through the pages of a manual as opposed to...'

You are aware that those eBooks have a search function so that you don't have to do the searching yourself?
You also don't have to wet your thumb to flip the page.

flick through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313896)

I'm reading a book on my Kindle that has notes at the end of each chapter. By the time I get to them I want to look back and reread the passage they refer to - easy in a real book, but very laborious in an e-book. The inability to flick through pages is one of the e-book's greatest weaknesses. Along with its indifference to book design of course...

Re:flick through (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313948)

I'm reading a book on my Kindle that has notes at the end of each chapter. By the time I get to them I want to look back and reread the passage they refer to - easy in a real book, but very laborious in an e-book. ... Along with its indifference to book design of course...

You reckon? I always hated the end-notes in a book, even a real one.

I can understand that layout-ing a book for press-printing is much cheaper if relying on end-notes instead of footnotes, but with now the ubiquitous use of the computer in "desktop publishing" this should not be an excuse (at most, I can accept the idea of relying on endnotes if the notes themselves have a large extent).

But end-notes in an ebook without back-referencing? Good God, the publisher of such books must be to lowest type $crooges, with the only motivation of staying in business being to punish everyone that need or love to read a(n e) book.
My point: don't blame the eBook reader, but the publisher of such monstrous mutilation of the ebook.

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314012)

With a real book it is trivial to go from the first third of the book to the last third (say "turn" 300 pages) with one go. With an ebook reader it is not so straightforward.

That being said, I love my PRS-900 and would not change it for a thousand real books.

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314206)

LOL. Just from curiosity, since I'm seeing you a tad worried, what is your rate "page-flicks per seconds"?

When it comes to reference books, something like a 100 page flips per second isn't that unusal to find the thing you are looking for. Even a fast ebook display is no better then something like 2 or 3 page flips a second, which is perfectly fine for reading a book, but way to slow for browsing a book. Even your average PDF reader on a PC has a hard time coming near to a real books performance, let alone the tactile feel of it (pages you already read are easier to find again, then pages you haven't touched, thickness gives indication where you are in the book, etc.).

eBooks have a lot of advantages, I love that the page is always flat, not warped, that it stays open without any extra effort, that you can carry around hundred of books, etc., but the tactile browsing that paper books allows has yet to be matched by any electronic reading device. It's however not an unsolvable problem, intelligent bookmarking, keeping track of which pages have been read, zoomable-interfaces [youtube.com] or simply analog buttons for moving forward and backwards through the book could go a long way in either matching or surpassing the experience of a real book.

Re:Refresh rate? (3, Informative)

wrook (134116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313314)

According to this article: http://www.e-ink-info.com/fujitsu-shows-new-prototype-color-e-reader [e-ink-info.com] Fujitsu is building something based on this and it has a refresh rate of 0.7 seconds. So pretty slow. Other articles ( http://www.e-ink-info.com/auos-sipix-e-paper-now-fast-enough-video-6fps [e-ink-info.com] ) suggest that some monochrome panels are capable of 6 frames per second and speculate ( http://www.e-ink-info.com/e-ink-do-not-expect-new-monochrome-e-ink-display-2011 [e-ink-info.com] ) that 24 frames per second may be possible in a matter of years.

So... it's still mostly useful for static displays, but in a couple of years we may be seeing it branching out into other applications.

Re:Refresh rate? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314452)

Refresh rate wouldn't be an issue for PDF reading if the screen was A4 size and thus there was no need to scroll.

love it (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313260)

I can't wait for my color-eink iPod Touch/iPad.

Useless for video (2)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313310)

The current E-Ink tech is useless for video because the refresh rate is very slow.

What fascinates me about the summary is the plastic encapsulation. I wonder if eventually we will have objects which resemble paper books, but the individual pages will be easily rewritable?

My guess is that before that happens, mainline culture will change enough that people will think of paper books similar to the way most relate now to phonograph records. OTOH, I don't really believe I have any great ability to predict the future that far out.

Re:Useless for video (2)

locofungus (179280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313670)

I wonder if eventually we will have objects which resemble paper books, but the individual pages will be easily rewritable?

This would be fantastic and could, potentially, obviate the need for a power supply or buttons at all. You'd "dock" the book and rewrite the pages and then carry it around and use it just like an ordinary book.

Tim.

Cooooool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313266)

I am not the biggest fan of e-readers. (Book snob.) I do find the applications for the technology to be fascinating, however. I strongly recommend watching the video. The interviewer asks excellent questions and the demonstrator answers them clearly and without a lot of marketing hoopla.

Re:Cooooool. (3, Informative)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313308)

I used to be like you. I have about 1500 books. Then I got a kindle and I'm converted. Just give it a go, it's actually damn good technology done right.

Re:Cooooool. (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313346)

> it's actually damn good technology done right

You do not specify exactly what you are referring to: did you mean "using ebooks and ereaders", or were you talking about the Kindle in particular?

Re:Cooooool. (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313612)

I'm talking about the Kindle in particular, but that's probably because I haven't really used any other ebook readers.

Re:Cooooool. (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313900)

They come in all measures of quality. I've got a Kindle, too, but I've played with some others. Many you'd rather forget; basically, anything cheaper than a Kindle is destined for tragedy, excepting perhaps the Kobo. The fancier Nooks, however, tend to get a lot of love.

Re:Cooooool. (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313414)

I agree, put me down for the same sort of anecdotal evidence. Can't believe how much nicer it is to now have a K3 than lugging books around, or worse, leaving one behind that you wanted to read on a trip :)

Re:Cooooool. (1)

rapiddescent (572442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313724)

more anecdotal evidence - my kindle 3 broke down on the first day of holiday (the e-ink screen went haywire); so I was forced to speak to my wife and child and had to endure holiday activities together. it's been a while since I've had a catastrophic failure of a book.

Re:Cooooool. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314304)

it's been a while since I've had a catastrophic failure of a book.

Really? Then you aren't trying hard enough. Expose one to enough water and it is ruined, or close enough to warrant a replacement.

Water being left in the rain, or dropped in the ocean/lake/river or even flushed down the toilet by a curious 3-year old child. Spilled drinks can be devastating, depending on the liquid volume.

I've also gotten a few that were part of a bad press run. Ten minutes out of the store, even though brand new, the binding was falling apart. Going back to the store to return it, all of the other ones of that title in stock had the same problem.

Then there is the rare missing page. I think they did an entire episode of M*A*S*H on that once.

Re:Cooooool. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314492)

Hmm, I remember a holiday being similarly affected, when I returned to our villa to find the wind had torn about 100 pages of Northern Lights out of the book, and strewn them around the garden.

Only color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313270)

*sigh* guess I'll have to wait longer for the colour versions.

Size limits. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313294)

How big can these e-paper displays be made, and how cheap? I rather like the idea of e-wallpaper. Not only would it allow for instant redecoration of a room, but you could use them as giant wall displays for reading news or showing alerts, and have the option of instantly changing themes for visitors or special occasions. Just need to make e-ink displays better until they are cheaper, bigger, and durable enough to withstand a few pieces of furniture banging into them over the years.

Re:Size limits. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313402)

Try reading the article. They print them on rolls upto a kilometer long. Getting something to drive it is the problem.

Re:Size limits. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314356)

Wouldn't it only have to tile render and leave the pattern static? Or does the e-Ink need to be kept actively updated? I was under (probably mistakenly) the impression that e-Ink was a write and forget, taking power only to alter the screen (no power == a stable state).

control (1, Redundant)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313316)

My paper book:

(1) Works every time after a relaxing read in the bathroom, even if I occasionally splash it;

(2) Works after a drop or a knock in the train;

(3) Doesn't send any information about my reading or highlighting habits anywhere;

(4) Can actually be annotated and highlighted by writing directly on it with a stylus (though the cool kids call them pencils) - and the annotations can be removed using an eraser;

(5) Is of no interest to thieves;

(6) Has never transformed overnight into several hundred blank pages of paper because of some corporate decision somewhere;

(7) Is three-dimensional and can be held so I can look at multiple pages at once;

(8) Has zero power usage;

(9) Seems to have an average lifespan of at least a decade or two in the cheapest cases, centuries for some - they just don't go wrong when I'm in the middle of nowhere;

(10) Is sized appropriately to the content;

(11) Can be lent and resold and copied;

(12) Smells nice.

Re:control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313358)

My paper book [... accolades snipped ...]

Yes, but eventually you'll get tired of that book and want another.

I have about six moving boxes full of books that don't fit on my bookshelves. At least 90% of them would suit me just as well or better as ebooks. (The other 10% are photography books and reference books that wouldn't work as well, so I'd keep those in paper form.) I don't intend to replace my existing collection, but the idea of not acquiring another six boxes over the next five years appeals to me greatly.

Re:control (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313834)

There is a geek hoarding habit which I guess would fit in with the need to have compact digital copies of everything. But there is really no requirement to keep your own copy of every book you have ever read or may read at some point in the future.

Re:control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313372)

(6) Has never transformed overnight into several hundred blank pages of paper because of some corporate decision somewhere;

Actually its a shame that this technology wasn't around at the time of Muhammad. That way all the verses that call on the killing of non-Muslims who don't convert or submit to dhimitude (second class status), that Western Muslims tell us have been abrogated would have disappeared. This would have prevented the majority of Muslims outside the West from believing them and implementing them as law.

Re:control (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313386)

But, has extremely poor storage density.and requires bulky physical media.

Sometimes two giant advantages can outweigh many smaller ones depending on the situation. When it is convenient I enjoy reading dead-tree books. But for daily use digital is simply the way for me and many others.

Re:control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313416)

(11) Can be lent and resold and copied;

(12) Smells nice.

Not if used according to requirement (1) through (10)

Re:control (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313850)

You underestimate the resilience of a well-bound book printed on good paper.

Re:control (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313496)

(13) Has proper typography [int64.org] —kerning, ligatures, hanging puncutation, and paragraph-optimized justification.

(14) Is easier to read having a higher DPI, better contrast ratio, and less reflectivity.

(15) Has cheaper books.

(16) Can't be taken away from you at the flip of a switch [slashdot.org] .

(17) Requires a trip to a store, or a lengthy ship time.

(18) Can only contain a limited number of pages.

I own a Nook and love it, but am waiting very excitedly for this tech to evolve.

Re:control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314110)

E-paper of the last generation has better contrast ratio than most paperbacks, and I believe better DPI too.

Re:control (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313546)

[DRM sucks]

Then use plain PDFs.

(12) Smells nice.

Nothing can beat the smell of fresh desiccant when you open the box of a shiny new gadget (such as an e-book reader).

Re:control (1)

chromas (1085949) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313742)

(3) Doesn't send any information about my reading or highlighting habits anywhere;

What? How do they target the ads?

Re:control (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313950)

(6) Has never transformed overnight into several hundred blank pages of paper because of some corporate decision somewhere;

There's nothing to stop you from backing up your ebooks if you're really worried about this.

"Inability to make backups" is a mark against the physical book. If my house burns down with my Kindle in it, I can buy a new Kindle and my entire book collection is still there.

Re:control (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314182)

Erm, most books are just copies of some original and there are lots more copies floating around the world. What you might be arguing is that it is cheaper to rebuild a whole digital book collection than a physical one - this is true for a particular range of disasters and time frames.

For example, if I drop my book in the water while on some field trip / holiday, it may become a disfigured mess but it's unlikely to become unreadable. I can continue using it and get a new copy in better condition once I've got home. A Kindle in the pond leaves me without my whole reading collection until I return home. With miniaturisation and advanced technology comes a very small volume which needs to be damaged in order to totally destroy an experience. And guess which of the one book or the one e-reader is likely to cost more to replace?

But what I fear most is a massive loss of knowledge/culture accompanying some huge disaster, e.g. war.

Re:control (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314126)

Can actually be annotated and highlighted by writing directly on it with a stylus (though the cool kids call them pencils) - and the annotations can be removed using an eraser;

You can do this with my iRex iLiad. The annotations are stored as PNGs, one per page, and there's software for merging them with the PDF (if your handwriting is better than mine then you can run them through handwriting recognition and have the annotations indexed as well). iRex no longer exists - not surprising, they made great hardware but their software sucked - but iRiver (what's with all of these iCompanies) makes a device with similar capabilities: their Cover Story.

Re:control (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314194)

(8) Has zero power usage;

That's not really true. You still need power to flip pages. It's just that you provide that power manually.

Letter sized... (5, Informative)

Tropaios (244000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313342)

The article states that they print ROLLS of this stuff over a meter wide and up to a kilometer long... Why can't I have a color e-ink reader with an 8 1/2" x 11" screen, a touch screen, and full PDF support?

I don't care what it costs, shut up and take my money!

Re:Letter sized... (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313424)

I've wondered that myself, would LOVE a 24" eInk display for slow updating data. Of course, the devil is likely in the details, as with all great electronics.

Re:Letter sized... (5, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313452)

I say "wallpaper". Really, how awesome would that be!

Re:Letter sized... (2)

Tropaios (244000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313482)

That would also be amazing. but at 167 ppi, your 12 ft wall with 8 ft ceilings is going to be a roughly 385 megapixel display...

But I am also the same guy who wonders why if I can have a qHD display in a 4" cell phone, why can't I have a 4K display in my 17" laptop...

Scumbag tech companies aren't innovating fast enough!

Re:Letter sized... (2)

jeti (105266) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313552)

That would also be amazing. but at 167 ppi, your 12 ft wall with 8 ft ceilings is going to be a roughly 385 megapixel display...

So? The wallpaper doesn't have to update quickly. Use vector graphics and a passive matrix display.
You don't need a lot of memory or a lot of transistors for a high resolution display.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

AMoth (1151295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313744)

Anything that get's us closer to a paperless world ... but I agree, in this case size does mater! ZOMG!!! I'm having positive vibes with this (!!) yks!!!

Re:Letter sized... (2)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313922)

Take mine too, but for fuck's sake, don't bring that letter size shit to new devices! Do A4 please.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314056)

Take mine too, but for fuck's sake, don't bring that letter size shit to new devices! Do A4 please.

That is a dumb idea because tons of softbound reference works are in letter size, but practically none are in A4.

Re:Letter sized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314124)

I've got a better suggestion. Why not just make it 11.7" x 8.5" and then it could display both A4 *and* letter pages.

Re:Letter sized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314156)

That is a dumb idea because tons of softbound reference works are in letter size, but practically none are in A4.

Maybe in the US, but not in the other 70-80% of a new electronic device's market.

Re:Letter sized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314218)

A4 can show letter size content without problem (actually probably adds a more aesthetic frame). The opposite is not true.

But as you guys still use fahrenheit, gallons, feet and miles, this probably is too much to ask.

No wonder the global meaningfulness of the US of A is diminishing fast.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314324)

A4 can show letter size content without problem (actually probably adds a more aesthetic frame). The opposite is not true.

Either has to be scaled to be fully represented, unless it's cropped. Thus both will look like crap on the other's display. Most work with not be reformatted. The default will be to scale to avoid failing to display data in the margin, however trivial or unlikely.

Do you work for HP by any chance? (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314266)

I thought printer makers were the last people in the world to think that USL outvolumes A4.

Hint: the population of the EU considerably outnumbers the population of the US, and most of the world's commercial printers are now designed around ISO sizes, whether sheet or web. As for the printer makers, you could regard it as a subtle insult: Europeans are intelligent enough to change the default setting to A4, Americans are considered insufficiently intelligent to change from A4 to USL. (The real reason is that a change to a default of A4 would reduce the reported print speed and cartridge life.)

Re:Letter sized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314368)

It's not true that there are hardly any in A4 size. A heck of a lot of scientific papers are published in A4.

Re:Letter sized... (3, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314178)

The article states that they print ROLLS of this stuff over a meter wide and up to a kilometer long... Why can't I have a color e-ink reader with an 8 1/2" x 11" screen, a touch screen, and full PDF support?

I don't care what it costs, shut up and take my money!

I get the impression that they're talking about large sheets of the "microcapsule" material used in the displays, rather than complete displays with the electronics required to "write" pixels to them. They're pretty clear that the electronics are the limiting factor.

Meanwhile, the Kindle seems reasonably happy with displaying PDFs - its just that panning and zooming them is painful - partly because of the limited controls on a Kindle, but mainly because of the very slow screen refresh.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314184)

The article mentions that the electronic gadgetry needed to drive such high res displays is the bottleneck.

But I also think there are defects. The bigger screen version of Kindle has much higher rate of failures and faults. All it takes is one stuck pixel. I think they print such a long sheet, and punch out defect free rectangles out and discard the rest. But this is just speculation on my part.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314214)

And no real-estate taken up by a chicklet keyboard. I love the kindle, and the geometry of the little one is just right for reading. However, the larger DX kindle has too much frame and wastes space at the bottom with a kbd.

Needs a TFT panel behind the eInk layer (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314234)

From the video it sounds like that what comes off the roll is just the eInk layer (pigment capsules etc) which then needs to be laminated to a TFT panel that actually controls the pixels, so you cant just plug that roll in and have a 1km long working screen unfortunately.

Re:Letter sized... (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314540)

Slightly different requirements here: I want A5 format, color e-ink, full CBR/CBZ support (which is the easiest thing in the world, but strangely few ebooks offer it), with SD cards, optional touch, no keyboard, no network, no music, no Windows/iOS shenanigans. For reading comic books. Now the first one will take my money, I've been waiting for a couple years.

4,096 colors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313418)

Little known fact: this display is just an Amiga with a bit of plastic glued on the front.

Re:4,096 colors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314172)

...and you have to use both hands in the HAM (hold-and-modify) mode.

Doomed tech (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313420)

With Mirasol around the corner and greater consumer preference for responsive colour displays, e-ink color is going to be DOA.

It is just e-ink with a coloured filter over the top. To imagine the effect print out a picture in grayscale on a piece of grey cardboard and colour it in with pencils. It will look awful, washed out, faded like some colourized B&W picture.

Re:Doomed tech (1, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313510)

Just looking at this demo [youtube.com] suggests it's neither e-ink nor LCD quality.

Washed out compared to surroudings: check.

Low contrast/dark compared to surroundings: check.

Annoyingly reflects ball of light: check.

Contrast changes significantly when angle to camera changed: check.

Re:Doomed tech (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314090)

How many books have you read with coloured text or backgrounds ...?

If I want to have a multimedia experience, I do not read a book, If I want to watch a movie I do not use a kindle ...

Re:Doomed tech (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314212)

How many books have you read with coloured text or backgrounds ...?

I hear lots of people need or like to look at printed illustrations or diagrams. Or to read comics. And kids like lots of colour. Hey, some people with dyslexia benefit from being able to change the hues of the paper.

And none of my highlighter pens are shades of grey.

Ignore the movement and concentrate on the lack of quality of the image.

Re:Doomed tech (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314248)

The only valid reason you came up with was Comics/Comic Books

You obviously read different books than the rest of the world - most have almost no illustrations, few in colour - Not because it is expensive (it generally is not anymore) but because it is distracting

Highlighter pens are bright colours so you can find the highlighted sections easily - not really a problem in a searchable text?

Just because 'kids like it' or 'it looks cool' is not a reason to do it ...go and look at most web pages (slashdot is a good example) - they are black text on a light background, with few pictures ... in the early years of the web people used many pictures many colours flashing text etc ... it died down because it was annoying distracting and hard to read, the only items like this on web pages now are adverts, and are generally though to be annoying because of this

Re:Doomed tech (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314292)

The only valid reason you came up with was Comics/Comic Books

Since I'm on Slashdot, I guess I ought to expect that. And the missing of accessibility for dyslexics.

You obviously read different books than the rest of the world - most have almost no illustrations, few in colour - Not because it is expensive (it generally is not anymore) but because it is distracting

You have no idea what you're talking about. There are general interest books full of photographs of artistic or cultural works; there are technical books full of diagrams where colour is used to represent different paths or categories or whatever. You may have a psychological aversion to colour but we've evolved to recognise it and make use of it.

Just because 'kids like it' or 'it looks cool' is not a reason to do it

So if young children are attracted by bright colours and it helps encourage them to read you should nevertheless not do it?

go and look at most web pages (slashdot is a good example) - they are black text on a light background, with few pictures ...

Unfortunately not. Web pages continue to be filled with distracting layout, banners, bars, squiggles and crap. Adblock almost makes you forget how bad it is. The web of the mid-'90s was far better. Although you may remember the brightly-coloured imagemaps, these were exceptions. Lack of bandwidth meant it was mostly text and the occasional icon with pictures/diagrams interspersed where needed.

You've created a strawman of inappropriate colouring. Well done. No-one'll disagree with you, but it's not what's being discussed.

Re:Doomed tech (1)

Tropaios (244000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313514)

No, the technology is poised to be amazing and will really take off. Think about all of the books you've ever read, now think about the pictures in them. Black and white right? Unless they included a few extra glossy pages at high cost? Now you can add good quality color images to what are essentially paperback books at no cost. This will be great for maps, diagrams, and any other application which doesn't specifically need the highest quality images. Even at just 4096 colors 300 ppi color e-ink will be an amazing game changer. and it is an impressive advancement.

It really doesn't matter if it will look awful compared to an LCD, it will look great compared to a non-color e-ink product and it will blow people away and they will throw their money at it.

Re:Doomed tech (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314198)

No, the technology is poised to be amazing and will really take off. Think about all of the books you've ever read, now think about the pictures in them. Black and white right? Unless they included a few extra glossy pages at high cost? Now you can add good quality color images to what are essentially paperback books at no cost. This will be great for maps, diagrams, and any other application which doesn't specifically need the highest quality images. Even at just 4096 colors 300 ppi color e-ink will be an amazing game changer. and it is an impressive advancement.

Amazing tech? It's the existing 16 level grayscale e-ink with a layer on top of red, green, and blue filters which turn on or off. It's 4096 colours because 3 grayscale pixels tinted for each colour produces 4096 combinations. It will produce a low contrast tinted display with all the drawbacks of e-ink. Perhaps it's better than purely monochrome e-ink but it certainly isn't a game changer.

I expect the industry to grab an alternate solution with both hands at the first opportunity. I mentioned Mirasol because it is a low power display which produces vivid colours and does it with a high refresh rate. The tech has been demoed at trade shows for over a year now so clearly something is being worked on which will use it. I expect when it does appear the industry will grab it with both hands, or settle for OLED.

Re:Doomed tech (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313694)

With Mirasol around the corner and greater consumer preference for responsive colour displays, e-ink color is going to be DOA.

I'm pretty sure Mirasol is French for 'just around the corner'. Don't hold your breath unless you look good in blue.

More shatterproof (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313428)

Interesting choice of words. Once something is shatterproof, surely it cannot be shattered. At all. More shatter resistant, perhaps.

Then again, it could be very unique, couldn't it?

Re:More shatterproof (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313624)

Since you started with the pedantry, there are no gradations to "unique" something either is unique (one of its kind) or it isn't.

Re:More shatterproof (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314220)

Since you're continuing with the pedantry, English is descriptive. "Very unique" means "contains lots of unique characteristics and/or characteristics which are markedly different rather than just slightly different". This image may apply to you. [blogspot.com]

Re:More shatterproof (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314226)

Well, there are gradations of "unique" - being unique depends on the definition of sameness (if you are strict enough in your definition, every macroscopic object is unique). So something is "more unique" if it differs more from other, similar things, so you can apply a less strict definition of equivalence.

For example, a seven-wheeled car would be more unique than a car with a very special shade of blue not found in other cars.

NookColor 2 (1)

NuShrike (561140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313492)

This falls in line with the Nook Color 2 color e-ink rumors: http://www.bgr.com/2011/09/02/barnes-noble-nook-color-2-to-launch-this-month/ [bgr.com]

It's hypocritical media buzz really excited about the upcoming color Kindle which is sounding very much an exact clone of the NookColor. Many are calling it "Amazon's tablet" while backhandedly refusing to acknowledge B&N's original effort beyond calling it an "e-reader".

E Ink credit card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313788)

is the one in the picture a legit one ?

Kindle staying e-ink? (1)

natd (723818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313804)

I was fairly horrified at the story early this week that the colour Kindle is LCD. I've got an iPad and a Kindle for precisely the reason that I just don't enjoy the Kindle as a book replacement the way I do the Kindle. Hopefully the timing here isn't a coincidence and Amazon are sticking with e-ink.

Re:Kindle staying e-ink? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314128)

I was fairly horrified at the story early this week that the colour Kindle is LCD.

...but e-ink (even the colour e-ink described in TFA) is far too slow for video, games etc. Its also too slow to properly implement an iOS/Android style multitouch interface (sure, you can add a touch sensitive screen, but its the visual feedback that "makes" these interfaces).

I'd also like to see what the resolution/contrast of these colour e-ink screens is like, especially when displaying black-on-white text (as far as I can see, adding colour can only reduce the black-on-white resolution).

The rumour was that the B&W Kindle was going to continue alongside the new "Kindle tablet" - which seems like sense. The B&W kindle is unbeatable for reading novels etc. even though the iPad Kindle app has better functionality. Convergence between e-readers and tablets depends on some new display technology with the battery life and clarity of e-ink plus the colour and speed of LCD.

Patrio (-1)

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16x16x16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314278)

So instead of #FFFF00 you get #FF0. Woot

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