Friday, November 12, 2010

Colour or Black and White Madam?

E Ink are launching ebook readers with colour screens. The eInk Triton is a 9.7” screen that can displaying over 4,000 colours.It consists of a standard E ink display, as used in the Kindle, Sony Reader and Nook, with a colour filter over it. The makers claim that the electrophoretic display is up to 20% faster to refresh than the monochrome version, can display images with 4 bits of depth and offers 4,096 colours in addition to the current 16 shades of grey.

The first colour E Ink ebook reader is from Hanvon will be available in China in March 2011. It will have a 9.68” touchscreen, 2 GB of Flash storage, 128 MB memory, and a 800-MHz Freescale ARM Cortex A8 processor. The e-reader will run Microsoft's WinCE 6.0 operating system and include a USB 2.0 port and a slot for a MicroSD card for up to 32 GB of external storage and is expected to sell for about $440 in China.

However, the Hanvon e-reader can only display 4,096 colours compared to an LCD’s 6 million, will only be some $100 cheaper than an iPad and will not support video. Amazon has said it's going to stick with the black-and-white eInk display and remain a dedicated reading device, whilst Barnes & Noble has already released a colour Nook using a LCD screen.

It is very likely that the black and white eInk screen will continue to dominate the eInk world but that increasingly colour will be the domain of the tablet world. Those trying to cover both camps are likely to suffer the biggest disappointment offering neither one nor the other.

1 comment:

Mike Perry said...

Agreed. The design is a poor one and the price is far too high.

I can see why cell phones such as the iPhone 4 might switch to micro-SIMs. There, every little bit of space counts. But I can't see any reason for using micro-SDs in a device as big as a ebook reader. Even a SD is so small, it's easily lost. A micro-SD is a loss waiting to happen.

Both Apple and Amazon need competition to keep their very different products competitive in features and cost, but I doubt this color eink Triton will cause either to lose any sleep.