Beyond black and white for eReaders?
Following on to my notes about the iPad, there was a recent article in the IEEE Spectrum magazine about new technologies for the displays for future eReader devices. Noting in a separate commentary that the “perfect” display is always 10 years away, it’s still true that displays continue to get incrementally better.
The iPad’s display is a standard LCD – nothing you haven’t seen before, though of course not in this particular form-factor. Great for some things, like web browsing and perhaps (as others have noted) being the Internet access device that you could hang on the wall, or readily teach technophobes how to use. But for other things, like reading a book, that LCD is alleged to be somewhat hard on the eyes.
Enter the displays like the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Sony eReader, made by a company called eInk. Very low power (for long battery life), high contrast display readable in bright light, and reportedly much easier on the eyes. But, there’s no color – making for a very monochrome view of the world.
Now, reportedly, eInk is preparing to ship its first “newspaper-grade” color displays for eBook reader makers to start integrating. Perhaps next year, we’ll have access to those devices – and then a couple of years later, to “magazine quality” color. All steps in the right direction, waiting for those early adopters to buy them, start to build volume in the market, and drive the price down for those of us who are later in the adoption curve.
Such devices may give new life to newspapers and magazines, getting folks to pull their content “on the fly” whenever they want it, wherever they want it – so they’re no longer tied to reading at a laptop (inconvenient and awkward) or paper (for better or worse, folks seem to be turning away from this medium).
Should be an exciting few years!