Exclusive 17-minute interview with E Ink's CMO at CES, where they showed me a Triton color display for signage with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. I also saw the SURF display used in a hand drill which has not been filmed before. The 11.5" 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson. The Triton color display based Ectaco eReader that had just won the CES innovation award, it is being deployed in Russian schools. New E Ink watches from Phosphor and Seiko. Finally, the Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched this week was demonstrated, it is considered to be indestructible.
E Ink has shipped over 25 million E Ink screens for e-readers alone in 2011, that’s up from 10 million screens in 2010 and 4 million screens in 2009. Now E Ink is also working to expand into new markets, signage, appliances, everywhere. The idea is that more and more devices and surfaces may get an E Ink screen on them that thus by being bi-stable can show the informations for a long time without using any battery. While many electronic paper technology companies show samples, E Ink is actually in mass production with monochrome, color and segmented displays and they claim that no technology in the world comes close to the reading experience on E Ink's displays and these displays are easy on the eyes since they don’t have a shiny background or light emitting backlight.
E Ink also provided me with following amazing video featuring the actual E Ink Pearl roll display material used in Nook, Sony, Kindle etc. The video was shot alongside the Charles river in Cambridge/Boston and you can see MIT (E Ink is MIT spin off) and Boston skyline in the background. The display is a few feet wide and can go one kilometer (it was 500 meters in this video):
- Etón Corporation launches Rukus, the solar-powered Sound system (armdevices.net)
- Ectacto Jetbook Color eReader already available in Russia (liliputing.com)
- E Ink thinks its displays belong on pretty much everything (dvice.com)
- CES 2012: Color e-Ink readers are finally a reality, though not in the U.S. (news.consumerreports.org)
This is the full PocketBook press conference (partly in English and partly in German) at IFA 2011, where they launch the new PocketBook A10 Android Tablet.
Sony is launching their new generation of Eink e-readers with this Sony Reader Wi-Fi, it supports dual touch using infrared technology. The Wi-Fi can be used for stuff like web browsing, Google searching, Wikipedia searching for words highlighted in any book and for downloading e-books from the web or even viewing e-books within the web browser.
Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of marketing at E Ink, gives us the latest news from E Ink, they announced that they will ship between 25 million and 30 million E Ink screens this year, just for the E Ink e-readers like the Kindle 4 and Nook Touch. Yup you read right, 30 million of those devices to be sold this year.
You push a button behind the credit card, it displays a unique security code which can be used as pin code for payment security. The battery in that credit card lasts for up to 2 years, it's the same size and weight as a normal credit card and it is unbreakable.
Freescale is expanding their line of processors that are customized for e-reader type of applications with the i.MX502, i.MX503, i.MX507 and i.MX508 processors. Compared with i.MX51/53, i.MX50 is built to lack GPU for 3D acceleration (unnecessary on e-readers) but they can do 2D and have the option (i.MX503 and i.MX508) to hardware accelerate vector graphics through the OpenVG accelerator. This series is the first processor on the market to combine ARM Cortex-A8 with an EPD controller. Those are in different configurations to be used for e-ink (i.MX508 with OpenVG and i.MX507 without) or LCD e-readers (i.MX503 with OpenVG and i.MX502 without). Read the full press release here. Find more info at freescale.com
This may be the best e-reader on the market today. If it does run Android, if Kobo decides to open up the access to those Android features and not lock it down to only be about buying ebooks on their ebook store. Right now it may not be running Android at all, at least Kobo is not taking advantage of the potential Android openness yet. Hopefully Kobo updates their firmware for it to run a fully open Android, they can monetize e-readers in other new ways not only by locking it for a e-book store.
Both of the new amazingly priced Nook Touch ($139) and Kobo Touch ($129) seem to use the new Freescale i.MX508 (I first filmed i.MX508 a year ago) to facilitate smooth touch interfaces using Infrared Touch technology (first used in the Sony PRS-650) but also to easily enable those to be the first Android powered e-ink e-readers! Basically i.MX508 and Android makes first real useful use of WiFi and Touch on e-ink e-readers! Using Android on e-ink is awesome to provide for great files support, web browser, easily add apps like news readers, rss readers, Chrome-To-Phone functionality (just beam any article or any text from your Chrome browser on your laptop to your e-ink e-reader in one click!), synchronizing of bookmarks, wireless beaming of web based ebooks, all in one click. Android on e-ink just increases the e-readers potential greatly. Using infrared touchscreen technology is a great way to provide the best possible readability, not adding any layers on top of the screen.
Look forward to much more fascinating devices to come with:
i.MX508 + Android + infrared touch + WiFi/3G + e-ink = Low-cost e-ink e-readers!
Also see my video of the alternative Acoustic Pulse Recognition (APR) touch technology.
An interesting thing to follow though will be to see how open Android i.MX508 e-ink e-reader makers will be towards allowing for alternative e-book stores, and allowing for full open Android apps installation and full unrestricted access to the web browser. As it may be that part of the profit margins on these new low-cost e-ink e-readers may be subsidized by the hardware makers expecting to make later huge profits on selling e-books, like Amazon does with their Kindle e-book store, it will be fun to see if all the e-ink e-reader makers will seize the opportunity to be open with Android on e-ink and at the same time find new interesting ways to monetize those. I for example would prefer paying less than $10 per month for unlimited legal access to all e-books, all newspapers, all blogs, all websites, everything, perhaps even certain 3G bandwidth included, but will content owners and hardware makers be open minded enough to let that happen quickly?
When will Google officially announce open source Android optimizations for e-ink devices and with deep integration of Google Books, Google Reader, Google Fast Flip and more?
Here's how I think those e-ink e-readers could be sold in the best way: $99, $10/month optional pre-paid plan gives 100mb 3G data (upgradable bandwidth for $1/100mb or less) and full unlimited access to all e-books, all e-newspapers, e-magazines, blogs through RSS/search and more. Full unrestricted web browsing on e-ink. And nice complete cloud syncing with your Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop. While e-ink e-reader market is doing great perhaps reaching 20 million units to be sold this year, if they price them right and open them fully, I think they'll do even better.
- Kobo Bets on a Smaller, Touch Sensitive E-Reader (gigaom.com)
- Tipster: New Nook is 'The Simple Touch Reader' (news.cnet.com)
- $129 Kobo eReader Touch Edition unveiled, original slashed to $99 (geek.com)
Check out how ShiZhu's new Pixel Qi tablet series perform outdoors and indoors against other regular LCD based new Android tablets such as the HTC Flyer (with an anti-glare coating) and the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, you can see how the Pixel Qi screen is much more readable outdoors. This tablet is based on the Samsung Hummingbird Cortex-A8 processor. They are releasing also a 7" and they can provide them in several different designs.
Tyco Electronics introduces Acoustic Pulse Recognition (APR) touch screen technology in a reference e-ink touch screen based on Android on the Freescale i.MX508 platform.