E-readers have been around some time, and that market has had a long
while to mature. In fact, many e-reader companies are now ditching the
original E Ink e-paper that is still used on the Kindle in order to use
an LCD. Why? Color and fast-motion video. Consumers are demanding more
from their portable devices these days, and when units like the iPad
NOOKcolor can both be used as an e-reader as well as a video playback
device and gaming handheld...well, it makes the e-paper units look
rather limited in scope.
There's little doubt that e-paper is superior for readability. It reacts
the best under direct sunlight, drains the least amount of battery life
and is more gentle on the eyes. But that's obviously not enough
anymore. Despite those benefits, many companies are still reverting to LCD
in order to add more demanded features.
According a report in the New York Times, Hanvon will seriously change
the game tomorrow at FPD International 2010 in Tokyo. The story suggests
that they will announce their intentions to "sell a color display using
technology from E Ink, whose black-and-white displays are used in 90
percent of the world’s e-readers, including the Amazon Kindle, Sony
Readers and the Nook from Barnes & Noble."
A color E Ink display? Yes, it's true according to this, and it's
coming. But what's really strange here is the company that will be
bringing into the public limelight. Hanvon? Barnes & Noble just
introduced the LCD-based NOOKcolor a few weeks ago; did E Ink never
contact them to try to arrange a launch deal? What about Amazon in all
of this? Either way, there's no doubt that this is a major milestone for
e-readers in general as well as E Ink as a company. Having a color E
Ink display could shift the way future e-readers are marketed, and may
definitely influence the future path of the Kindle
. Hanvon's color unit
will not be ready for public consumption until next March, with pricing
still to be announced.