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E Ink: iPad is "good for us," bad for eyes

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Wed March 17, 2010

PVI exec sees Apple drawing eyes to e-books

The iPad should actually be beneficial for E Ink, Prime View International executive VP TH Peng claimed in a new interview. He notes that the sheer run-up in publicity ahead of Apple's e-reader launch will draw attention to e-books as a whole. It could not only spark sales but lure in publishers that might not have otherwise published digital copies.

"We already have companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Sony who are endorsing digital publishing, and now we have another very good company called Apple. So generally this is very good for us," Peng told Xconomy. "Yes, we do see some potential competition, but we believe the positives resulting from the iPad are a lot more beneficial. So we actually welcome the iPad -- we think it's going to be a joint force with us in creating a stronger digital publishing industry."

At the same time, the VP was critical of Apple's decision to treat an LCD-based tablet as an e-reader. Peng noted that LCD readers have "never been quite successful," as they aren't as comfortable to look at. He cited the example of long e-mail messages, which he prefers to print out instead of reading on screen.

The iPad is better for gaming and video, he acknowledged.

As part of the discussion, Peng confirmed his company's plans to produce color E Ink displays and expected to have these available by either the end of 2010 or early 2011. These should partly close the gap, he said. While the color isn't as vivid as an LCD or glossy magazine, the ability to go without a backlight or even constant power should make it a better experience.

Within about two years, PVI hopes to have "very good" color. The initial wave of technology should be an improvement on what newspapers usually offer.

Peng also touched on the chronic shortages that have affected current grayscale e-readers and expected that production would triple this year versus 2009. A sustained surge of interest is often believed to have led to Kindle shortages; similar delays helped push the Barnes & Noble Nook's widespread availability to February, months after it was made public.

By Electronista Staff


  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Reading in poor light is bad for your eyes.

    If you read a book in poor light, it is bad for your eyes. If you read a glossy magazine in poor light, it is bad for your eyes. If you read an e-ink display in poor light, it is bad for your eyes.

    Reading anything including on a modern LCD in light that is sufficient for reading a book is not going to cause eye strain any more than reading paper.

    There are a lot of people who stare at LCD screens almost all day and they do not suffer from eye strain if their work environment is well lit.

  1. dpicardi

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2006



    "He cited the example of long e-mail messages, which he prefers to print out instead of reading on screen"

    Not the way to win the tree hugger vote! ;)

    E0ink drives me crazy with the blinkning refresh every 60 secs when I want to turn the page. Until they fix that I'll continue to ruin my eyes with my iPhone and soon to be iPad.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    RGB is not suitable for text

    Unlike the Kindle, a color screen's pixel is made up of RGB, which means the text is inherently fuzzy in comparison.

    People, especially those who are over the age of 35, often have eye strain. Why? 90% of the users are using Windows and most people over the age of 35 stray from the native resolution, because the native resolution is too small to read comfortably.

    Of course, they can easily zoom the text larger, but most people just lower the resolution to make the text larger. These factors combined makes it a hostile reading environment—regardless of lighting conditions.

  1. FreeRange

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009



    Peng is obviously getting desperate - His argument for E-Ink is like a buggy manufacturer claiming that the introduction of the automobile is great for his business because they both promote wheeled travel.

    And to Paul Huang, who claims that "RGB is not suitable for text", equally absurd. With the high resolution of today's color screens, the human eye cannot detect the difference. That's like saying that color magazines and photos are not suitable because they too use small color dots.

    Nice try boys.

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001


    I call BS and FUD

    Someone provide me with a scientific stufy that says LCDs are bad for your eyes.

    Put up or shut up.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Tech Guru?

    "He cited the example of long e-mail messages, which he prefers to print out instead of reading on screen."

    What? Really? Great argument for technology.

    BTW I have a Kindle1 and the Kindle App for the iPhone. The only difference I can see is size. No greater or lesser fatigue. Only wish there was an iPhone App screen the size of a Kindle screen. Oh, wait.... ;-)

  1. shiggie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010


    as evidenced by...

    the drop in sales of Kindles after the iPad was announced.

    Honestly, reading on paper is easier, then eInk, then LCD. But, the numbers don't support his delusion.

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000


    Complete manure

    I'm an ophthalmologist, and all this talk about reading from LCD screens being bad for your eyes is total BS.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    iPad starts at $499

    e-ink devices start at $199 from Sony. the iPad starts at $499.

    It's difficult enough to actually save money by purchasing your books in digital edition.

    Even if you saved $5 per book, it would take the purchases of 40 books before you overcame the initial price of the Sony. It would take purchasing 100 books, to do the same on your iPad, and lets face it, Apple has no intention of charging LESS for books.

    If anything they plan to charge a premium, thats Apple's's different from the Kindle market...there is some overlap but the iPad, is at least not yet, a Kindle killer. Amazon has time to formulate a response, anyway.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    MacBook and iMac 20" screens are stunning

    Plenty of people find the screen quality of MacBook and iMac 20" screens absolutely:


    Did I miss a few superlatives?

    Those people would definitely not be able to tell the difference between RGB and monochrome LCDs.

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