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E Ink Demos Clearer, Rugged Next Gen eBook Reader Displays

Gordon Kelly

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E Ink had been the talk of the tech industry until the iPad came along and made everyone think they could read books on high contrast LCD screens once more (hint: you can't). Perhaps this will again get eyes focused in the right direction...

E Ink's Sriram Peruvemba has been showing off the company's next generation technology and the emphases is on not just improving image quality, but also making the displays far more durable.

In the first instance this means a highly welcome (and somewhat overdue) move away from the standard 16 shade grayscale, 7:1 contrast ratio, 0.74 second refresh rates seen on all current E Ink devices with a sizeable leap up to 12:1 contrast ratios and refresh rates fast enough to carry basic animations. Say goodbye to those laggy page turns.

"We are approaching paper-like quality now," said Peruvemba in an interview with bloggers Red Ferret. "It looks superb outdoors, that's the beauty of this technology," he added. "The more light the better, unlike an LCD... which always loses when it fights with the sun." {nice dig sir}

In addition, next gen E Ink displays will also be slightly flexible meaning they can better absorb blunt impacts - as shown in the video directly above. Try doing that to your average LCD screen! Battery life will be "around the same" as current E Ink displays meaning hundreds of page turns from a single charge.

Availability? Peruvemba said the screens will ship to partners by Q4 and while he expects some products to debut in time for Christmas, the bulk should be arriving next year.

Get those readers under £150 and I'm sold...

In related news The LA Times reports that experts have found reading on LCD screens can cause insomnia "because direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body's secretion of melatonin... Melatonin signals are sent through the brain as a response to darkness, telling the body to prepare to shut down for the night." This is essentially the same effect as when you watch TV late at night.

By contrast an E Ink display "is easier on the eyes than the screen on a computer (tablet or otherwise)." So once again for the cheap seats: don't read books on an LCD screen!

Links:

E Ink

Red Ferret

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