Color e-ink displays on the way for e-readers

New York Times
Eric Taub reports that the first color e-reader using e-ink technology has been unveiled and will go on sale in China next March. The display is based on similar black-and-white technology already used by Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble. Taub writes:

“To create the color image, E Ink uses its standard black-and-white display overlaid with a color filter. As a result, battery life is the same as its black-and-white cousins, measured in weeks rather than hours, as with the iPad.”

No U.S. manufacturer has announced plans to transition from the current black-and-white displays to this new technology. Taub notes that the color e-ink does not reproduce colors as brightly as an LCD screen and is not capable of supporting full-motion video:

“These are reasons Amazon, Sony and the other major e-reader makers are not yet embracing it. Amazon says it will offer color E Ink when it is ready; the company sees color as useful in cookbooks and children’s books, and it offers these books in color through its Kindle application for LCD devices. Sony is also taking a wait-and-see approach.

” ‘On a list of things that people want in e-readers, color always comes up,’ said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division. ‘There’s no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant color. We’re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience.’ “

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