Color e-book readers may be on the way from Amazon
Despite the popularity of Apple's iPad and competing tablets such as the Kindle Fire, some consumers still pine for color e-readers. Amazon, maker of the Kindle, top seller among e-readers, has flirted with the idea, but previously maintained that the technology wasn't ready yet for a quality color reading device. Now, sources tell Digitimes, color E Ink technology may finally have reached a satisfactory level of sophistication, and Amazon is said to be preparing to roll out a color Kindle in the second half of 2012.
E Ink reports first loss after 10 quarters
E Ink has reported its first loss in two years following ten quarters of consecutive profit. Revenues declined by a steep 63 percent to just $131 million, while its gross margin shrunk to a microscopic 0.8 percent from a much higher 28.5 percent in the previous quarter. The decline is said to be the result of excess manufacturing capacity and being forced to move into lower margin LCD panels from higher margin Electronic Paper Display (EPD) products.
Amazon snaps up Oy Modilis to get night Kindle use
The combination of a leak and discoveries has revealed that Amazon is likely developing a unique illuminated E Ink screen. A source showing a disguised prototype in person to TechCrunch had an adjustable screen that evenly lit up with a cool light. The effect was like that of a white LED, but softer and easier to read, according to the anecdote.
Amazon Kindle Fire may get quick 7in sequel
Amazon may have reshuffled its Kindle Fire sequel plans again to drop an 8.9-inch model. A rumor Wednesday night spread to Digitimes had Amazon instead planning a straightforward seven-inch sequel to the current model as well as the alluded-to 10-inch version. Success with the tablet was leading Amazon to drift from e-readers to tablets, prompting the larger model, the sources claimed.
Amazon dips into color e-paper and big tablet
A pair of leaks Sunday night have pointed to Amazon both growing its tablet line and dipping into color e-paper for the firs time. E Ink is supposedly getting orders for a six-inch, color e-paper display, Taiwan's Economic Daily News said. The production would start very quickly, in March, with production scaling up to as much as three million a month.
Amazon 4th-gen Kindle sold at loss
Amazon's fourth-generation Kindle costs more to make than its $79 selling price, a cost breakdown has uncovered. IHS iSuppli told Main St that the e-reader costs $84.25 to build, or a combination of the $78.59 in raw parts and $5.66 in assembly. The most expensive part was the E Ink Pearl screen, at $30.50, while the circuit board was next at $30.37.
Reader offers reduced size and cost
Although Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet stole the show last month at the company's launch event, the company also introduced an update to its traditional Kindle reader. The fourth-generation model brings a smaller housing and improved E Ink display, but without the hardware keyboard that was present on each of the earlier models. In our full review, we determine how the new Kindle stacks up against the earlier models and competing devices.
Amazon Kindle Touch and 79 Kindle set records
Amazon in the same introduction as the Kindle Fire tablet also revealed its own direct answer to the current Nook. The Kindle Touch is based entirely on an infrared-based, six-inch touchscreen with a unique interface known as EasyReach. Tapping the top quarter of the screen brings up the menu, while tapping near the left edge goes back; tapping the rest of the page goes forward.
Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 takes Xperia influence
Sony on Wednesday confirmed a long-expected update to its Reader e-book hardware. The Reader Wi-Fi, or PRS-T1, borrows much of its influence from the Xperia smartphone line, down to an 0.35-inch thickness and a lighter six-ounce weight dictated by a switch from aluminum to plastic. The design runs on a much newer, E Ink-made six-inch Pearl screen and now supports multi-touch for zoom as well as page turns through swipes.
E Ink, Epson collaborate on 300PPI e-paper screen
At the currently ongoing SID Display Week show, E Ink and Epson have been showing a jointly-developed e-paper display. The panel sets a record in terms of resolution for e-paper screens, with a 2400x1650 resolution in a 9.68-inch screen. At 300 pixels per inch, it compares favorably to the 160PPI displays of current devices.
iPhone 4 includes several advances, group says
Two Apple screens have won Gold awards as part of the Society for Information Display's Display of the Year Awards. Taking home the event's titular Gold prize is the Retina Display on the iPhone 4, which has four times the pixel density of earlier iPhones and provides better viewing angles than most LCDs by way of IPS technology. The display in fact has several technical advancements, the Society elaborates.
E Ink shows concepts ready for production
E-ink has been working on new applications and technologies for its e-paper displays, The Digital Reader found out. Demonstration videos embedded below show the progress the company has made, though production dates are up in the air as the company needs a partner to cover the manufacturing costs. The company showed e-paper displays embedded into cloth, making them flexible.
Quanta said making tablet for Amazon
The rumored Amazon tablet is being made by contract manufacturer Quanta and should be available by the end of the year, part suppliers said Monday night. It would make as many as 700,000 to 800,000 of the tablets a month and could ship them as soon as the second half of the year. Digitimes was told Amazon would have a unique tie-in with its usual e-paper supplier: although E Ink would supply some display components, it would be giving just the fringe field switching technology used in LCDs and a touchscreen layer.
E Ink puts video-ready Pearl screen sequel in 2012
E Ink global sales head Sri Peruvemba in an interview Monday both dampened hopes for a sequel to its Pearl e-paper displays while promising a major leap with the next release. He told CNET not to expect any replacement in 2011 but promised much better performance. The next generation could display full-motion video, or at least 24 frames per second.
Hands-on with Hanvon color E Ink reader
While at CES on Saturday, we had the opportunity to see Hanvon's E920 color E Ink reader first hand to see how well it worked in practice. The screen is, as promised, much more interesting to use than on just about any other e-paper reader. Colors are muted due to the nature of the technology, but it still stands out very clearly and is extremely sharp: at 1600x1200, the 9.7-inch display isn't quite Retina Display accurate but is noticeably more "pixel-free" than a Kindle.
Has text-to-speech, 15 day standby battery
Display maker Hanvon has unveiled its Wisereader E920, a 9.7in grayscale E Ink e-reader with 200 dpi resolution. The device has up to 15 days of standby battery power and will accept extended MicroSD cards up to 32GB. The pad will read a variety of formats, and allow users to comment in PDF. It also performs Chinese to English translation.
HTC job posting hints at future 3D, E Ink phones
Cellphone make HTC is aiming to bring new screen technology to its handsets, if a job posting made last month and discovered today is any indication. In the description for its ideal candidate for a Display and Camera Engineer, there is mention of experience with familiar AMOLED displays but also E Ink and 3D displays as well. No clues appeared as to which if either screen technique was more likely.
Hanvon device to ship February 2011
China’s Hanvon 9.7-inch color e-reader, the first to utilize the new E Ink Triton ePaper display, is now available for pre-order. It is set to launch in February 2011. It will come in a Wi-Fi only version and one with Wi-Fi plus 3G. In addition to offering a color reading experience, as well as the ability to display light animations, the device will also allow users to view and edit PowerPoint files.
Zeal flipphone priced, dated for Verizon
Verizon will soon begin shipping the Samsung Zeal handset, first leaked in a rebate form at the end of October. The dual-hinge flip phone will replace the Alias 2 when it arrives on Thursday, November 11, and will bring with it an E Ink QWERTY keyboard that switches its button layout based on orientation. The entry-level phone gets a 2.6-inch, 240x320 display, a two-megapixel camera and Bluetooth, while storage comes from microSD memory cards.
Faster performance, stunning battery life
E Ink today detailed the technical capabilities of its new Triton color ePaper that made its debut on the color Hanvon e-reader yesterday. A video (included below) explains that devices using the display will get an impressive 30 days of battery life versus about 10 hours for equivalent devices using LCD displays. It achieves this feat by reflecting external light, which bounce back from the display through a UV filter that gives the images their color.
Hanvon previews color E Ink reader for March
China's Hanvon today had the distinction of becoming the first company to support a color E Ink screen. The company said it would launch a 9.7-inch touchscreen device. The design has few details but should behave slightly more like a tablet, with a website in view in the initial NYT render and both 3G and Wi-Fi support. It reaches the Chinese market in March for an equivalent price of $440.
Ships with embedded Linux with Google Android 1.6
Entourage has launched its Pocket eDGE dual touchscreen tablet, which Electronista first had a hands-on experience with in early January. It incorporats a monochrome 6-inch Wacom Penabled E ink panel on the left and a 7-inch color resistive touchscreen display on the right. Like the prototype that we examined at CES, it is still running Android 1.6 as well as Embedded Linux, although the trackball on the right has now been replaced by an optical touchpad.
Phosphor E Ink watch beats Seiko to market
Watch maker Phosphor has beaten Seiko's model to market with the first watch that uses an E Ink low power display, the World Time Curved E Ink. The display consumes much less power than an LCD or LED but is still programmable to show time and date, time only, or two time zones simultaneously. It also has a very wide 180 degree viewing angle and, as expected by its nature, is much more readable in daylight.
Kobo intros Wireless eReader
Kobo this morning quickly improved its competitive stance through the Wireless eReader. The device keeps the design of the already reviewed original but now has 802.11g Wi-Fi. The addition both simplifies shopping by downloading directly to the e-reader but also enables automatic subscription downloads for magazines and newspapers as well as syncing of titles between the eReader and mobile apps.
Entourage Pocket Edge due soon with Wi-Fi model
Entourage after an unintentional reveal this weekend today confirmed details of the Pocket Edge. Its much smaller Android e-reader has a six-inch, older generation E Ink touch display on the left and a seven-inch touchscreen LCD on the right. While the performance is the same, Entourage told Digital Reader that it will come in both a 3G edition for Verizon and a Wi-Fi-only model for everyone else.
Samsung Galaxy Tab using IPS now, AMOLED in 2011
Samsung's Galaxy Tab is already using an LCD on the level of the iPad's and should jump to AMOLED in the future, Digitimes analyst Mingchi Kuo claimed today. Both Samsung itself and E Ink's Hydis division have been supplying the seven-inch tablet with a display that uses the same combination of IPS (in-plane switching) and FFS (fringe field switching) as Apple's tablet, just in a smaller size. The addition will give it both color accuracy and the wide viewing angles that have been credited to the iPad's success.
Sony Reader refreshes to fight Amazon and Apple
Sony as expected today revamped its entire Reader lineup to hold on to its position in e-books. The five-inch Pocket Edition, six-inch Touch Edition and seven-inch Daily Edition all now use touchscreens and fix a common problem of glare with e-paper touchscreens: the new models have a single touch and display layer that should be easier to read without glare. They also use E Ink Pearl panels that update faster, produce a higher contrast and help extend the battery life.
German launch in October
Acer is set to capitalize on the popularity of the e-reader category by launching its Kindle challenger, the six-inch E Ink LumiRead in Germany next week. First revealed earlier this year, the thin device is now being prepped to ship in Germany in October. Content will be delivered through Libri.de in Germany, Barnes & Noble in the US and Founder in China. Agreements with content providers are also being negotiated in order to deliver content in French and Italian as the LumiRead is eventually rolled out across other markets.
Sony Reader 2010 to get much improved touchscreen
Sony's upcoming Reader overhaul has been leaked in a way that reveals a much improved display and a better lifespan. All of Sony's e-readers, including the Pocket Edition, will use touchscreens and, according to the marketing material Engadget obtained, should reduce the visibility problems that often plague touchscreen e-paper. Both the Pocket Edition and Touch Edition will use a new E Ink display which doesn't need an extra layer above the screen for touch, making for a look closer to paper.
E-paper keyboards, watches on the way
Taiwan's E Ink has indicated that it is looking at expanding the uses for its electrophoretic e-paper display technology beyond e-readers. Possibilities for the wider use of the technology include keyboards, tags, watches, and advertising displays.
E Ink to bring out color, touchscreen panels
Taiwan's E Ink has built two new e-paper devices that are undergoing testing by their buyers and should be released later this year or early in 2011, company chairman Scott Liu said recently. Each has a touchscreen, but one is capacitive while the other is electromagnetic. The company's color e-paper displays, meanwhile, were purchased by Hanvon, with devices expected to launch this fall.
ASUS Eee Tablet to ship at high price
ASUS has said that its eight-inch Eee Tablet is due for release in October. The e-book reader sports a 64-grayscale TFT-LCD screen that does not have a backlight, and will be priced at $599. The release is about a month later and between $300 and $400 dearer than expected before.
Amazon Kindle gets smaller design, Wi-Fi
Amazon in a rare evening launch revealed its third-generation Kindle reader. The new hardware is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the model it replaces but is better in nearly every way. It uses a new E Ink Pearl display with 50 percent better contrast and 20 percent faster page turns but can now last for up to a month with wireless off on battery, twice as much as before, and for up to 10 days with wireless on.
E Ink details Pearl display tech in new Kindle DX
E Ink has revealed the technical details behind its new e-paper display, which is used in the next-generation, just-announced Kindle DX. Dubbed Pearl, the new display tech increases the contrast ratio by 50 percent compared to the outgoing technology. The new e-paper uses an electrophoretic display and is based on current Vizplex designs.
Leak has new Kindle a cautious update
First details of the next-generation Kindle may have been given away in a rumor late Friday. A pair of sources claim it will be a safe update that will be thinner and carry a faster, higher-resolution E Ink display. It should ship in August but won't, however, have color or a touchscreen.
E Ink shows faster, rugged next-gen displays
E Ink Vice President of Marketing Sriram Peruvemba was caught on camera (below) demonstrating the next-generation e-paper displays from his employer. One such prototype, seen in the first video, will nearly double the current grayscale panel's contrast ratio. It's also capable of faster refresh rates, which may not be good enough for full-blown video playback, but is good enough for animations, as shown.
ViewSonic ships 6-inch e-readers in Europe
ViewSonic on Friday introduced two new e-book readers for Europe, a first for the company. The two share the same 6-inch monochrome E Ink panels, though only the VEB 625 gets touchscreen capability. Both it and the VEB 620 have 2GB of built-in storage, an SD card slot and an accelerometer for rotating pages automatically.
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.
LG lands deals with E Ink, more
LG Display today landed deals that will give it the ability to produce e-paper screens. The company now has a display supply deal with E Ink and has an agreement with Hydis Technology both to develop e-paper modules as well as to cross-purchase technology between the two. LG is also investing about $30.5 million into Hydis and already has a half-percent, $10.5 million stake in Prime View International, the parent company of both E Ink and Hydis.
Prime View to buy E Ink
Taiwan-based Prime View International (PVI), one of the larger suppliers of e-paper displays, today set out plans to acquire e-paper display maker E Ink for $215 million. E Ink's displays are used in the relatively successful 6-inch Amazon Kindle 2 e-book reader as well as its rival, the Sony Reader. The company also makes a 9.7-inch display for the Kindle DX, which it similarly sells as a prototype kit to hardware developers.
HP Flexible TFT Displays
HP Labs and Arizona State University today revealed that it has built the first example of a working flexible plastic display. A process known as self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) lets the PC maker build a thin film transistor screen that can be rolled up without snapping or otherwise easily breaking. Although it uses an active matrix and can show moving content, it also uses Vizplex's E Ink technology borrowed from e-books to render an image stable even when the display's power is shut off, making it ideal for reading.
E Ink displays in phones
E Ink Corporation announced on Wednesday that both Casio and Hitachi will use its E Ink Vixplex Imaging Film for the outside displays of their upcoming clamshell cellular phones. The company specializes in electronic paper display technologies, and promises its technology will decrease the energy used by the devices. While the Hitachi W61 was previewed back in January, the Casio Model G’zOne is all new.
E Ink Next-Gen E-Paper
E Ink finished the week with news that it has launched a new generation of e-paper cells. Normally used for devices such as the Amazon Kindle or basic displays on flash drives, the new cells are as much as 40 percent thinner and can be cut into either unusual 2D shapes or bent into regular forms, such as curves. They also survive harsher temperatures, the designer says, allowing the extremely power-efficient designs to stand more exposure outside.