Color And Touch-Enabled E Ink Panels Rumored For Next Year

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...