HP Working On Color E-Paper Displays For Next-Gen E-Readers

Color e-ink. It's a fairly tale, of sorts. It's a technology that we know exists, and we know that many companies are working on making it into something that can be produced commercially. But today, the only e-paper that exists in the consumer realm is the black/white kind that's found on the NOOK and Kindle. For well over five years, certain companies have attempted to produce a backlight-free color version of the e-ink displays that are used today on e-readers, but it's obviously a difficult task. It's always hard to have your cake and it too (so to speak), and color e-ink is a dramatic case of exactly that.

But Hewlett-Packard, a company that isn't often associated with cutting-edge display technologies, may have something in mind. If their efforts in this space continue to progress, the first color Kindle may indeed have an HP display within. Of course, that's a long shot possibility today, but the company has dedicated research to creating synthetic materials that will allow them to create brighter low-power displays that can display color images. According to a new report at Technology Review, HP has "developed a composite material that converts blue and green light into red and another that converts blue light into green," and since it's not practical to create a blue luminescent pixel, the company's engineers have been forced to create their own materials that do what they want.

Basically, HP has figured out a way to toy with science in a fashion that makes color e-ink a lot less of an impossibility. The real question, though, is how quickly can HP turn this into something that's affordable and able to be mass produced. But with the iPad and other long-lasting color tablets breaking into the e-reader market, it couldn't come fast enough.