Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Displays Handhelds Technology

E Ink Demos New Displays, Gadgets At IFA 2011 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the dead-tree-salvation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "E Ink turned up at IFA 2011 with its Triton color e-paper, which has exactly the same properties as the monochrome version found in the Kindle (two-month battery life, no power use when viewing a page, as readable as a sheet of paper) while adding 4,096 colors. We also get to see the E Ink watch, signage, cellphone and USB stick displays, and the latest glass-less e-paper inside a credit card. E Ink hopes to use the new plastic substrate in future e-readers, meaning they will be thinner, lighter, and more shatterproof than those that ship today."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

E Ink Demos New Displays, Gadgets At IFA 2011

Comments Filter:
  • Just in time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @02:23AM (#37313214) Homepage

    Not more than two days ago, my wife (a librarian) saw a color e-reader (using a backlit LCD), and mentioned that it'd be great for children's books. I said that e-ink was probably a better option, because the reader could use less power when a distracted kid leaves it turned on. Now, there's hope for the benefits of both!

    • by toQDuj (806112)

      The problem I have with e-ink is the distracting negative flash as the screen resets to the new page. Or when scrolling... or when doing anything, really. Very annoying indeed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fmrbastien (1334213)

        The problem I have with paper is the distracting animation when I flip the page. Or when the wind flips the page... or when doing anything, really. Very annoying indeed.

        • Backlit LCD it is.
          • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @07:44AM (#37314366) Homepage

            You forget the obvious alternative; a single long stretch of paper. It could be rolled up to make it portable. Now THAT would be progress!

            • Perhaps you could roll from both ends to achieve a "scrolling" look mimicking modern computer displays. It'd give a high tech feeling to your idea!
            • by jimicus (737525)

              Problem with that is that wood-pulp paper goes brittle over time - so such a book would eventually reach a point where as soon as you open it it will fall apart.

              However, I understand you can make a paper-like material from the pith of the papyrus plant - I wonder if you could print onto that...

              • by elrous0 (869638) *

                Well if you really want it to last, why not just use embossed lettering on a stone or metal medium?

                • by Thud457 (234763)
                  not searchable.
                  also, slow and difficult for Wintermute-Neuromancer/Multivac/google/skynet to access.
                • by jimicus (737525)

                  Hmm. Actually, that's not a bad idea.

                  The only thing that concerns me then is that languages don't last forever. How many people speak fluent Latin today, for instance?

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Maybe they'd be better off implementing it as a wave travelling across the screen, to look more like a page turn in a book.

        The problem though, is that you can't use e-ink for doing much except reading. And I don't mind plugging a device in every couple of days to gain the ability to scroll, have video and be able to implement animation and things like drag and drop.

      • by sarhjinian (94086)

        The problem I have with e-ink is the distracting negative flash as the screen resets to the new page. Or when scrolling... or when doing anything, really. Very annoying indeed

        Some eReaders will only do this once ever n page transitions; I think, on a Kobo, it's once every six to clean up artifacts. It would be nice if it were configurable because it is annoying.

    • Re:Just in time... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @02:54AM (#37313320)

      The one distinctive feature of children's books is the thick cardboard cover and thick pages, because children aren't exactly known for their carefulness.

      I'm not sure how a E-ink device would fare after a few months of being aggressively fingered, scratched, thrown, banged, sat and vomited upon, especially considering that, unlike a real book that would be used occasionally and then shelved, an e-book would used all the time, precisely because it can display any book.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Everything my kids own are sticky and beat to hell. It took me long enough to teach them not to even *look* at daddy's laptop, without giving them an expensive tablet of their own.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        If they make ruggedized books for kids, why not do the same with e-readers? Wrap the whole thing in an extra half in of plastic, get rid of the keyboard (kids probably won't be adding annotations to Dick and Jane), and waterproof everything else. Get it to the point where it can be tossed in a dishwasher when needed. It'd be a bit pricier, but still probably cheaper than replacing a bunch of dead tree books whenever they get vomited on.

    • by drolli (522659)

      Yes that is why i love my sony reader more for ebooks than my android tablet. I am a distracted kid.

      • by AJH16 (940784)

        Agreed, what people fail to realize when comparing backlit LCD to e-Ink is that e-Ink is simply more comfortable to read on for extended times. I don't really care if my book can play animations. If I want video I have a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop and television for that. I don't need my book to do that too. I need my book to do one thing, let me read books and not have to worry about it.

    • by Zouden (232738)

      I wonder if we'll see a resurgence in comic books / graphic novels. There'll always be a market for physical comic books but I think there's a much larger audience out there who would enjoy the stories but don't want to spend the money collecting them. I know there's iPad apps for that sort of thing but I think a colour Kindle is much more appealing, and the 4096-colour range of this E Ink screen would be well suited to the artwork style.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        They'd first need to come up with a good way to arrange the panels. I've only read one real comic book (Watchmen) but the panel arrangement and relative size is definitely a part of the medium. Replacing it with one panel per page, all the same size, would lose something. And e-ink has too low of a refresh rate to handle pan & zoom well.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      E-ink isn't ready for prime time when it comes to children's books. TFS itself pointed out that the new paper can only do 4096 colors, which is just 4 bits of color per channel. That's nowhere near enough color to make it worthwhile for children's books.

      At any rate, I wouldn't trust one of these things around random children, they are still fragile.

      But having a few colors would be nice, as with the black and white Nook, I have to rely on luminosity to tell between highlights and regular print.

  • I can't wait for my color-eink iPod Touch/iPad.

    • The current E-Ink tech is useless for video because the refresh rate is very slow.

      What fascinates me about the summary is the plastic encapsulation. I wonder if eventually we will have objects which resemble paper books, but the individual pages will be easily rewritable?

      My guess is that before that happens, mainline culture will change enough that people will think of paper books similar to the way most relate now to phonograph records. OTOH, I don't really believe I have any great ability to predict the f

      • I wonder if eventually we will have objects which resemble paper books, but the individual pages will be easily rewritable?

        This would be fantastic and could, potentially, obviate the need for a power supply or buttons at all. You'd "dock" the book and rewrite the pages and then carry it around and use it just like an ordinary book.

        Tim.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Why? I get that there are a lot of book fetishists out there that seem to have some inexplicable devotion to the format, but it's not likely to ever happen. You'd need to have an Ebook large enough to handle War and Peace for that to really work, and even if you just settle for something that's appropriate for a chapter, you're probably still going to be paying 20 or 30 times as much as you would for a comparable single page ebook.

        In practical terms, you'd be paying a lot of money for no particularly good r

  • How big can these e-paper displays be made, and how cheap? I rather like the idea of e-wallpaper. Not only would it allow for instant redecoration of a room, but you could use them as giant wall displays for reading news or showing alerts, and have the option of instantly changing themes for visitors or special occasions. Just need to make e-ink displays better until they are cheaper, bigger, and durable enough to withstand a few pieces of furniture banging into them over the years.
    • In the video in TFA the E-Ink guy says they can make them hundreds of metres long. Well he says they produce them that long and cut them before putting the connectors on. He also mentions advertising billboards as a potential and target market for this.

  • control (Score:2, Redundant)

    My paper book:

    (1) Works every time after a relaxing read in the bathroom, even if I occasionally splash it;

    (2) Works after a drop or a knock in the train;

    (3) Doesn't send any information about my reading or highlighting habits anywhere;

    (4) Can actually be annotated and highlighted by writing directly on it with a stylus (though the cool kids call them pencils) - and the annotations can be removed using an eraser;

    (5) Is of no interest to thieves;

    (6) Has never transformed overnight into several hundred blank

    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      But, has extremely poor storage density.and requires bulky physical media.

      Sometimes two giant advantages can outweigh many smaller ones depending on the situation. When it is convenient I enjoy reading dead-tree books. But for daily use digital is simply the way for me and many others.

    • (13) Has proper typography [int64.org]—kerning, ligatures, hanging puncutation, and paragraph-optimized justification.

      (14) Is easier to read having a higher DPI, better contrast ratio, and less reflectivity.

      (15) Has cheaper books.

      (16) Can't be taken away from you at the flip of a switch [slashdot.org].

      (17) Requires a trip to a store, or a lengthy ship time.

      (18) Can only contain a limited number of pages.

      I own a Nook and love it, but am waiting very excitedly for this tech to evolve.

    • by peppepz (1311345)

      [DRM sucks]

      Then use plain PDFs.

      (12) Smells nice.

      Nothing can beat the smell of fresh desiccant when you open the box of a shiny new gadget (such as an e-book reader).

    • by chromas (1085949)

      (3) Doesn't send any information about my reading or highlighting habits anywhere;

      What? How do they target the ads?

    • (6) Has never transformed overnight into several hundred blank pages of paper because of some corporate decision somewhere;

      There's nothing to stop you from backing up your ebooks if you're really worried about this.

      "Inability to make backups" is a mark against the physical book. If my house burns down with my Kindle in it, I can buy a new Kindle and my entire book collection is still there.

      • Erm, most books are just copies of some original and there are lots more copies floating around the world. What you might be arguing is that it is cheaper to rebuild a whole digital book collection than a physical one - this is true for a particular range of disasters and time frames.

        For example, if I drop my book in the water while on some field trip / holiday, it may become a disfigured mess but it's unlikely to become unreadable. I can continue using it and get a new copy in better condition once I've go

    • Can actually be annotated and highlighted by writing directly on it with a stylus (though the cool kids call them pencils) - and the annotations can be removed using an eraser;

      You can do this with my iRex iLiad. The annotations are stored as PNGs, one per page, and there's software for merging them with the PDF (if your handwriting is better than mine then you can run them through handwriting recognition and have the annotations indexed as well). iRex no longer exists - not surprising, they made great hardware but their software sucked - but iRiver (what's with all of these iCompanies) makes a device with similar capabilities: their Cover Story.

    • 3) your purchase is recorded somewhere and likely being used to profile you.

      8) making the book takes power, storing the book is an opportunity cost and takes some power.

      These may be on the edge of statistical significance but can be relevant if you buy enough books frequently.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I love books. I have a bunch of them. Through several moves I've pared down my collection to about a hundred that I really like, with the rest in storage until I end up somewhere semi-permanently. Since I got an iPad I've been STRONGLY preferring ebooks for almost everything. They take up a lot less space and are much easier to move.

  • Letter sized... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tropaios (244000) <tropaios@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @03:01AM (#37313342)

    The article states that they print ROLLS of this stuff over a meter wide and up to a kilometer long... Why can't I have a color e-ink reader with an 8 1/2" x 11" screen, a touch screen, and full PDF support?

    I don't care what it costs, shut up and take my money!

    • by inflex (123318)

      I've wondered that myself, would LOVE a 24" eInk display for slow updating data. Of course, the devil is likely in the details, as with all great electronics.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        The biggest "detail" is probably "Nobody has a way to drive a display that size. Yeah, sure, we could build one but the engineer time would be expensive, not to mention tooling up a factory which doesn't come cheap. So unless we can spread that cost over many hundreds of thousands - maybe even millions - of units, the unit price will be so high that few will want to buy it. We have no idea whether or not we could sell that many in the first place, so we're not about to ask someone like Foxconn to run off an

    • Re:Letter sized... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daid303 (843777) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @03:30AM (#37313452)

      I say "wallpaper". Really, how awesome would that be!

      • by Tropaios (244000)

        That would also be amazing. but at 167 ppi, your 12 ft wall with 8 ft ceilings is going to be a roughly 385 megapixel display...

        But I am also the same guy who wonders why if I can have a qHD display in a 4" cell phone, why can't I have a 4K display in my 17" laptop...

        Scumbag tech companies aren't innovating fast enough!

        • by jeti (105266)

          That would also be amazing. but at 167 ppi, your 12 ft wall with 8 ft ceilings is going to be a roughly 385 megapixel display...

          So? The wallpaper doesn't have to update quickly. Use vector graphics and a passive matrix display.
          You don't need a lot of memory or a lot of transistors for a high resolution display.

          • by Zerth (26112)

            True, you'd only need like 40k transistors but the connector would be ridiculous.

    • by ccguy (1116865)
      Take mine too, but for fuck's sake, don't bring that letter size shit to new devices! Do A4 please.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Take mine too, but for fuck's sake, don't bring that letter size shit to new devices! Do A4 please.

        That is a dumb idea because tons of softbound reference works are in letter size, but practically none are in A4.

        • I thought printer makers were the last people in the world to think that USL outvolumes A4.

          Hint: the population of the EU considerably outnumbers the population of the US, and most of the world's commercial printers are now designed around ISO sizes, whether sheet or web. As for the printer makers, you could regard it as a subtle insult: Europeans are intelligent enough to change the default setting to A4, Americans are considered insufficiently intelligent to change from A4 to USL. (The real reason is that

        • Umm you might like to take a trip outside the US every now and then. You might well find many manuals and other reference materials are printed in A4.

    • Re:Letter sized... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @06:53AM (#37314178)

      The article states that they print ROLLS of this stuff over a meter wide and up to a kilometer long... Why can't I have a color e-ink reader with an 8 1/2" x 11" screen, a touch screen, and full PDF support?

      I don't care what it costs, shut up and take my money!

      I get the impression that they're talking about large sheets of the "microcapsule" material used in the displays, rather than complete displays with the electronics required to "write" pixels to them. They're pretty clear that the electronics are the limiting factor.

      Meanwhile, the Kindle seems reasonably happy with displaying PDFs - its just that panning and zooming them is painful - partly because of the limited controls on a Kindle, but mainly because of the very slow screen refresh.

    • The article mentions that the electronic gadgetry needed to drive such high res displays is the bottleneck.

      But I also think there are defects. The bigger screen version of Kindle has much higher rate of failures and faults. All it takes is one stuck pixel. I think they print such a long sheet, and punch out defect free rectangles out and discard the rest. But this is just speculation on my part.

    • by gatzke (2977)

      And no real-estate taken up by a chicklet keyboard. I love the kindle, and the geometry of the little one is just right for reading. However, the larger DX kindle has too much frame and wastes space at the bottom with a kbd.

    • From the video it sounds like that what comes off the roll is just the eInk layer (pigment capsules etc) which then needs to be laminated to a TFT panel that actually controls the pixels, so you cant just plug that roll in and have a 1km long working screen unfortunately.

    • by dargaud (518470)
      Slightly different requirements here: I want A5 format, color e-ink, full CBR/CBZ support (which is the easiest thing in the world, but strangely few ebooks offer it), with SD cards, optional touch, no keyboard, no network, no music, no Windows/iOS shenanigans. For reading comic books. Now the first one will take my money, I've been waiting for a couple years.
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      I think the main problem is that the company who makes the eink "paper" displays is also the company that makes the video controllers for them. There are no third party video controller manufacturers yet. From what I understand, the "paper" is a solid, quality product at this point; the main sticking point is that the controllers are still very basic; several eink products use the same video controller as the Kindle. It's not like you can just attach a VGA or HDMI cable to one of these things and get video

    • by otuz (85014)

      I'd guess one limiting factor is the resistance of the wiring on the backplane of the screen. Also, the this part (amongst others) is wrong:

      Kindle E Ink display is already capable of much higher resolutions, up to 12x SVGA in fact. The bottleneck isn’t the screen tech, but the underlying electronics capable of handling such a high resolution display.

      The limiting factor is very much the screen techology, because the limitation is how fine a mesh of wiring they are able to print on the back of the display, not "electronics capable of handling it".

  • With Mirasol around the corner and greater consumer preference for responsive colour displays, e-ink color is going to be DOA.

    It is just e-ink with a coloured filter over the top. To imagine the effect print out a picture in grayscale on a piece of grey cardboard and colour it in with pencils. It will look awful, washed out, faded like some colourized B&W picture.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Just looking at this demo [youtube.com] suggests it's neither e-ink nor LCD quality.

      Washed out compared to surroudings: check.

      Low contrast/dark compared to surroundings: check.

      Annoyingly reflects ball of light: check.

      Contrast changes significantly when angle to camera changed: check.

      • How many books have you read with coloured text or backgrounds ...?

        If I want to have a multimedia experience, I do not read a book, If I want to watch a movie I do not use a kindle ...

        • How many books have you read with coloured text or backgrounds ...?

          I hear lots of people need or like to look at printed illustrations or diagrams. Or to read comics. And kids like lots of colour. Hey, some people with dyslexia benefit from being able to change the hues of the paper.

          And none of my highlighter pens are shades of grey.

          Ignore the movement and concentrate on the lack of quality of the image.

          • The only valid reason you came up with was Comics/Comic Books

            You obviously read different books than the rest of the world - most have almost no illustrations, few in colour - Not because it is expensive (it generally is not anymore) but because it is distracting

            Highlighter pens are bright colours so you can find the highlighted sections easily - not really a problem in a searchable text?

            Just because 'kids like it' or 'it looks cool' is not a reason to do it ...go and look at most web pages (slashdot is a g

            • The only valid reason you came up with was Comics/Comic Books

              Since I'm on Slashdot, I guess I ought to expect that. And the missing of accessibility for dyslexics.

              You obviously read different books than the rest of the world - most have almost no illustrations, few in colour - Not because it is expensive (it generally is not anymore) but because it is distracting

              You have no idea what you're talking about. There are general interest books full of photographs of artistic or cultural works; there are technical books full of diagrams where colour is used to represent different paths or categories or whatever. You may have a psychological aversion to colour but we've evolved to recognise it and make use of it.

              Just because 'kids like it' or 'it looks cool' is not a reason to do it

              So if young children are attracted by bright colours and it h

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Textbooks and scientific papers. In other words, unless you read almost exclusively fiction, lots.

        • by berj (754323)

          I read a non-zero number of scientific papers in a month. Most of them have colour illustrations, diagrams and charts. If an e-reader doesn't allow me to view those in colour.. what point is it? For not much more than a Kindle DX (only readers of that size are useful for reading high resolution PDFs) I can get a tablet which *will* view those PDFs in colour *and* will allow me to read books *and* will allow me to zoom in smoothly and quickly to the images in the PDF *and* will let me watch a movie *and* w

    • by Tropaios (244000)

      No, the technology is poised to be amazing and will really take off. Think about all of the books you've ever read, now think about the pictures in them. Black and white right? Unless they included a few extra glossy pages at high cost? Now you can add good quality color images to what are essentially paperback books at no cost. This will be great for maps, diagrams, and any other application which doesn't specifically need the highest quality images. Even at just 4096 colors 300 ppi color e-ink will be an

      • by DrXym (126579)

        No, the technology is poised to be amazing and will really take off. Think about all of the books you've ever read, now think about the pictures in them. Black and white right? Unless they included a few extra glossy pages at high cost? Now you can add good quality color images to what are essentially paperback books at no cost. This will be great for maps, diagrams, and any other application which doesn't specifically need the highest quality images. Even at just 4096 colors 300 ppi color e-ink will be an amazing game changer. and it is an impressive advancement.

        Amazing tech? It's the existing 16 level grayscale e-ink with a layer on top of red, green, and blue filters which turn on or off. It's 4096 colours because 3 grayscale pixels tinted for each colour produces 4096 combinations. It will produce a low contrast tinted display with all the drawbacks of e-ink. Perhaps it's better than purely monochrome e-ink but it certainly isn't a game changer.

        I expect the industry to grab an alternate solution with both hands at the first opportunity. I mentioned Mirasol be

    • by Tumbleweed (3706)

      With Mirasol around the corner and greater consumer preference for responsive colour displays, e-ink color is going to be DOA.

      I'm pretty sure Mirasol is French for 'just around the corner'. Don't hold your breath unless you look good in blue.

  • This falls in line with the Nook Color 2 color e-ink rumors: http://www.bgr.com/2011/09/02/barnes-noble-nook-color-2-to-launch-this-month/ [bgr.com]

    It's hypocritical media buzz really excited about the upcoming color Kindle which is sounding very much an exact clone of the NookColor. Many are calling it "Amazon's tablet" while backhandedly refusing to acknowledge B&N's original effort beyond calling it an "e-reader".

  • I was fairly horrified at the story early this week that the colour Kindle is LCD. I've got an iPad and a Kindle for precisely the reason that I just don't enjoy the Kindle as a book replacement the way I do the Kindle. Hopefully the timing here isn't a coincidence and Amazon are sticking with e-ink.
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      I was fairly horrified at the story early this week that the colour Kindle is LCD.

      ...but e-ink (even the colour e-ink described in TFA) is far too slow for video, games etc. Its also too slow to properly implement an iOS/Android style multitouch interface (sure, you can add a touch sensitive screen, but its the visual feedback that "makes" these interfaces).

      I'd also like to see what the resolution/contrast of these colour e-ink screens is like, especially when displaying black-on-white text (as far as I can see, adding colour can only reduce the black-on-white resolution).

      The rumour wa

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Exactly. Amazon sell apps, movies, music, games as well as books. It's obviously in their interests to sell a device capable of receiving them all of that content even if it upsets some purists who want e-ink devices. I'm sure they'll supply e-ink for some time to come, possibly even in colour. But the future is clearly not e-ink.

I have not yet begun to byte!

Working...