Amazon's third generation Kindle
recently launched, and aside from a
frame that's a bit thinner, controls that are nicer, the inclusion of
games and a slight user interface overhaul, it's the same as the first.
The main attraction, the E Ink panel, hasn't changed all that much. It's
brighter and sharper now, but it's still E Ink. It still can't display
color, and it still has a page refresh that's slow enough for the naked
eye to notice.
So, the question is: why is E Ink technology evolving so slowly? It's
moving so slowly in fact, that some people are just resorting to LCDs to
get what they really want. Many use the iPad as an e-reader because it
can display color and it refreshes in an instant, even though the
battery life is worse and it's difficult to see outside. But we know
that Qualcomm's Mirasol addresses these problems, and Amazon has already
confessed to having some color prototypes in their labs. So we know
it's out there somewhere, just not on store shelves.
A new rumor from DigiTimes makes it seem like color E Ink is closer than
we had imagined. And there's more. E Ink displays with capacitive touch
panels are also rumored to be making the rounds internally, which means
that a fully touch-enabled, color-supporting Kindle could be in the
labs as we speak. Of course, that's not to say the device is close to
shipping to consumers, but any progress would be nice at this point. The
report notes that shipping product could be ready by next year, but we
aren't going to buy into something that optimistic just yet. We'd love
to be shown wrong, though. An E Ink based tablet that could last for
days could really revolutionize things...