E-ink announce that coloured e-ink is almost upon us!

E-ink, the company who provide all the e-paper screens we gaze at when we read our ereaders have announced that they are well along with the R&D needed to produce a viable coloured e-ink.

Coloured e-Ink….. Coming soon!

This is an enormously exciting development in this technology, as it means that eReaders will be able to compete on a level playing field with the current back-lit LCD screens that devices such as the iPad  use.

How the technology actually works they are not saying, as understandably they don’t wish to be pipped to the post by any competitors, and to be frank, most of us are not really interested in how such a miracle is created, all we really care about is that it works, allows us to read our eBooks in comfort and doesnt flatten the battery any faster than our current monochrome screens do.

Not much detail yet…….

Obviously there isn’t much detail yet about how it will look, and work, but Mr T.h.Peng – Vice President of Marketing – in a recent interview (Link to interview) said, they expect to be producing the first generation of the new coloured e-ink by about the end of the year, but that the colours won’t be as strong as the glossy colours needed for magazines, but will be more than adequate for newspapers, text books and so forth.

Strong, bright, glossy colour:

Furthermore, he is convinced that by the end of 2011, they will have progressed to the point of being able to  give us the strong colours needed for e-magazines, at which point there will be absolutely no reason to buy computer based devices to use as eReaders any more.

iPad and its sisters no longer interesting to us:

As I have contended all along, devices such as the iPad and all such LCD devices are not really suitable to be used as eReaders, but as they are so efficient with colour, they are an obvious stop-gap machine for eBooks that require colour – text books, comics and so on – but once e-Ink perfect their colour technology, that advantage will be a thing of the past, and we should no longer see companies such as Apple attempting to convince us that a tablet is an ideal eReader any more.

We can all then settle down and buy the devices we need for specific uses.

Once again the Chinese are there with a vengeance!

Apparently one Chinese maker of eReaders has already  said that they will bring out a colour e-ink eReader the moment this technology becomes available.  It is astonishing how much the Chinese seem to have taken on the whole eReader phenomena.  Mark you, if you have ever had the opportunity, as I have, to visit a large book shop in China and to see the hordes of people of all ages and types standing and sitting all over the place, noses deep in books from the shelves, it isn’t such a surprise.   The Chinese are the most fervent readers I have ever come across.

Multifunctionality…. useful?

Obviously there are no end of folk out there who deeply desire to have everything in one box, they will simply have to decide which function is most important to them, and act accordingly – and given how many eReaders are rapidly becoming multifunctional devices too, it should be possible to please  everyone soon.

My feeling is that ere long eReaders will develop into very serious competitors to the various tablets, mobile phones and such like devices, since once we have high quality colour e-ink, there is no real reason for an eReader not to be able to surf the web, be used as a phone, a PDA, a word processor and so on and thus be every bit as useful as the current crop of stripped down computers that are being pushed as the new standard in mobile communication/book/phone…..etc….

I am extremely excited by this development and will be first in the queue to buy a colour eReader when they come on the market, so watch this space for further reports on this exciting stuff…. I shall be watching developments closely, and will report on it as it happens.

Sources:http://www.xconomy.com/ http://hardware.slashdot.org

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