PencilsE Ink Holdings has just announced a brand new form of e-ink display, featuring what was once considered an e-ink holy grail: color. Once the province of defunct companies Mirasol and Pixel Qi, it now seems to have fallen to E-Ink itself to innovate I don’t understand all the technical terms, like “electrophoretic fluid” or “microcapsule or Microcup® structures,” but apparently it’s supposed to produce a brighter, clearer display than any other color e-ink attempt heretofore.

It can display eight colors (the press release erroneously calls it “eight primary colors,” but that’s not right). At a guess, red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, white, and black. That’s far from the complete color space possible on an LCD tablet, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

The question is, what’s it going to be used for? The last time I waxed optimistic about a new e-ink technology, Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader reminded me that e-ink readers are on the way out, so why would Amazon want to invest in a new form of display technology which would require an expensive development period for something few people might actually end up buying?

But then again, I think that if Amazon is willing to come out with a $290 e-reader that few people can even afford, they might be willing to spend a little extra money coming up with a next-generation display, too. Especially if selling more e-ink readers is what’s required to save the e-book market. But on the other hand, maybe it just gets used in e-ink signage instead. We’ll see.

(Found via Gizmodo.)


  1. Color isn’t that important for reading. Only a few darker colors work well as text. And I doubt the color will be nearly as good as that on tablets. Where this could really make a different are large, slowly changing displays from billboards to airport flight listings. A lot of electricity goes into such diplays. Epaper would save a lot of energy.

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