CLEARink to supply e-paper displays to a leading tablet maker in a $10 million deal

Color e-paper developer CLEARink announced that is has signed a supply agreement with a leading tablet maker to start supplying tablet displays beginning in 2019. The agreement calls for at least $10 million in initial orders.

CLEARink wearable display prototype (SID 2018)

The CLEARink-enabled tablets will feature sunlight visibility, high resolution video and color, and will offer a much higher battery life compared to LCD or OLED based tablets. This is CLEARink's first major supply agreement.

New technology promises fast and bright e-paper displays

Researchers from the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati developed a new e-paper technology based on plastic sheets coated with aluminum with pores that hide black ink behind them. To show a black pixel, the display pushes the ink through the pore and onto the front of the sheet.

The research already developed a first prototype - a 6" round display that features 150 ppi. The refresh rate is very fast - about 67 times a second. It has a very bright white background - due to the aluminum coating.

The new Kindle Paperwhite uses an enhanced Pearl E Ink panel

When Amazon announced their new Kindle Paperwhite, they wouldn't say what kind of E Ink panel is used - just that it's got a higher resolution (XGA), better contrast, better touch capabilities and a faster refresh rate. Our friend Sriram Peruvemba, E Ink's marketing chief explains that the major advances in this new display is a better TFT and improved software.

The new TFT backplane allows them to achieve a higher resolution - 212 dpi (XGA), compared to the older generation TFT which allowed only 167 dpi (SVGA). The new software design also allows for faster refresh. Now grey-to-grey speed is 450 mSecs, compared to 600 mSecs using the older software (i.e. 25% faster).

Bookeen's High Speed Ink System (HSIS) technology

Bookeen has been researching high speed E Ink displays for over two years, and now they have unveiled the technology - which they call High Speed Ink System technology or (HSIS). Basically, HSIS is an E Ink Pearl touch display, a TI Cortex A8 processor (which Bookeen said was developed in partnership with TI) and optimized software and algorithms developed by Bookeen.

Bookeen Odyssey photo

 

Bookeen recently announced the Odyssey e-reader that includes all HSIS components - and is capable of fast page refreshes, video, scrollable menus and scrollable web-browser and more - all this on a monochrome 6" E Ink pearl display of course. Bookeen has been showing prototype HSIS devices since early 2011.

AUO's Sipix e-paper is now fast enough for video (6fps)

It's been a while since we heard some news regarding AUO's Sipix e-paper technology. IRX Innovation tested the new panel and found it's fast enough for video (6fps):

In fact IRX engineers say that this could be improved to 10fps just by loading the images into a memory buffer. The panel on show offers VGA resolution (480x640), 100Hz refresh rate and 4 gray levels (although this will be improved to 16 levels). Here's a closeup of the panel:

E Ink - do not expect a new monochrome E Ink display in 2011

E Ink's Sri Peruvemba says that there's generally a two-year cycle in E Ink technology as it takes some time to develop and test new generation displays. Sri says that we shouldn't expect a new monochrome E Ink display (to replace the Pearl) in 2011. I guess we'll have to wait till 2012!

What we are likely to see soon are speed improvements - full-motion video (24fps) using updated drivers and faster processors. Bookeen has already been showing about 10-15fps video on Pearl displays.