E Ink has announced a breakthrough in its efforts to create a full-colour electronic paper display – but don't expect a colour Kindle any time soon.
If you've ever used an Amazon Kindle ebook reader then you've benefitted from E Ink's work with ePaper. The company's monochrome display technology is as easy on battery life as it is on the eyes.
A colour ePaper display has long been the dream thanks to these unique properties, but nothing particularly compelling has come to fruition on that front until now.
E Ink has just announced Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP), which it describes as "a high quality, full colour reflective display". This results in an ePaper display that can output a full gamut of 32,000 colours, producing genuine print quality without the harsh lighting of other colour display tech.
The company's previous colour technology could only attain 4,000 colours, so it's a massive improvement.
So, when will the first colour Kindle be announced? Not so fast there. E Ink is initially focusing on producing 20-inch ACeP displays with a relatively low resolution of 2,500 x 1,600. These will be used for retail signs and advertisements rather than portable consumer products.
Related: Which Kindle should you buy?
It's the low-res nature of this initial ACeP technology that means we probably won't be seeing it in personal devices any time soon. At 150ppi, it offers literally half the sharpness of the kind of monochrome display found in the Amazon Kindle Oasis.
Another drawback of ACeP technology is its low refresh rate. It takes a whole two seconds to refresh.
Next, take a look at our Amazon Kindle Oasis review video:
Still, this is a promising step towards a full-colour digital display that's as pleasant to read as a printed magazine.