Amazon announces the Kindle 3, with the new "Pearl" E Ink displays

Amazon has just announced the third generation of their popular Kindle e-reader devices. The new Amazon Kindle is smaller, and lighter but still has the same display size. They are using the new 'pearl' displays, which offer an improved contrast (by 50%!). The display size is still 6", 600x800.

Amazon Kindle 3 photo

There are two versions: Wi-Fi only and WiFi/3G. Both versions will ship on August 27th, and can be pre-ordered now. The Wi-Fi only will cost $139, and will come in Graphite. The 3G version will cost $189, and you can choose between white and Graphite.

E Ink unveils their next-gen display, the Pearl - monochrome e-paper with enhanced contrast ratio

E Ink has announced their next-gen display technology called Pearl, to be released in July 2010. This new display has about 50% improved contrast ratio compared to the current Vizplex displays. The Pearl has 16 levels of gray, improved power consumption (and of course they do not require power when images are not changed).

The Pearl is the display used in Amazon's new Graphite Kindle DX, which will ship on July 2010, and cost $379.

PVI shows 6" and 9.7" color E Ink prototypes, in talks with Amazon and B&N

Update: we've got a video of the new prototype displays, see below

PVI is now showing 6" and 9.7" color E Ink displays for e-readers at a trade show in Shenzhen, China. The displays are demoing animated color clips, although the refresh rate is not fast enough for video. PVI has shown those screens to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, although they won't say whether there are any plans to use them in future e-readers.

Color E Ink prototype

PVI predicts mass-production to start 4Q 2010. The new PVI screens add an extra layer of color-filtering glass on top of a standard E Ink panel. The color screens consume more energy than monochrome ones. PVI also displayed new flexible displays, made from plastic which could make readers lighter and harder to break.

Freescale announces new fast & cheap e-reader processor

Freescale announced today a new processor called i.MX508 targeted for e-readers. The processor is based on an ARM A8 core and includes an E Ink controller. Freescale says that the chip is fast (800Mhz), efficient and cheap (less than $10 in large volumes). In fact they say that this chip can enable $150 e-readers.

The new chip is faster than Freescale's previous e-reader chips (used in the Amazon Kindle and Sony's Readers, for example) which can result in faster page refresh and can enable new features. As the chip includes an E Ink controller, USB and NAND memory it can help reduce the price of the final product.

Amazon announces the "international" Kindle 2, also drops price for the US edition to 259$

Amazon has finally announced international support for the Kindle. They now offer the Amazon US & International edition for 279$ (available October 19th). It can be used in over 100 countries (using AT&T's global roaming network). Each download overseas will cost 1.99$ (when you buy a new book or download one from your archived items). This is rather expensive - so this is more for Americans who want to use this abroad as well, although it can be shipped internationally from Amazon.

The Kindle US edition now costs 259$ (down from 299$), and will not allow for international roaming.

AUO: we'll have cheaper e-paper displays soon

AUO says that its e-paper displays will be better, and much cheaper than available today, using its large-size production capabilities. In fact, they expect e-book readers prices to fall in half within two years - and they see a 100$ reader by 2011.

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