E Ink smartphone prototype surfaces in China

China's Onyx is working on an E Ink smartphone running Android. Obviously Android isn't perfect on E Ink (no color, slow refreshes) - but this is an interesting concept and might be quite usable for some people. Battery life is said to be around 1 week, but this will obviously depends on how much you talk and use the phone.

During IFA 2012 in September, E Ink themselves showed a prototype dual-screen smartphone with an LCD on side and an E Ink display on the other side. This is a really clever idea, but in the meantime we'll have to settle with Onyx's E Ink only phone...

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.

Kindle Paperwhite ad

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).

Amazon launches new Kindles, two with E Ink displays, one an LCD tablet

Amazon announced three new kindles today, two of which use E Ink displays. The new Kindle Touch e-readers feature 6" Pearl E Ink displays and an infra-red touch sensor. The $79 non-touch Kindle 2011 is a streamlined version of the older Kindle 3 - with only 5 physical buttons (beside the next/prev ones, anyway). The Kindle Fire is a $199 7" IPS-LCD tablet/e-reader.

The Kindle Touch will launch on November 21st, but you can order it today. The Wi-Fi version costs $99 with screensaver ads and $139 without ads. The 3G version costs $149 (ads) or $189 (ads-free). The Kindle 2011 is shipping now: $79 for the ad-supported version and $109 for the non-ads variant. The Fire will launch on November 15th for only $199 - you can pre-order it now.

Angry birds on a rooted Nook Touch

Here's a nice video showing a game of Angry Birds on a rooted Nook Touch e-reader. Unfortunately, the device is too slow for this game which flashes a lot and does't handle the actual game animation at all:

The Nook Touch (Wi-Fi version) costs $139.

Hanvon unveils ERT touch technology

Hanvon unveiled new touch technology called ERT (Electromagnetic Resonance Touch). ERT can sense both pen input and finger touch - and is placed beneath the display panel and not above it like normal touch layers. It works by adding several capacitors to a normal digitizer touch sensor.

Hanvon plans to commercialize this technology in its e-readers (for the Chinese market) by 2H 2011.

Snaplet - a shape sensing flexible E Ink bracelet

Canada's Human Media Lab is showing a new flexible E Ink display prototype called Snaplet. This device is a wrist-mounted bracelet that has a touch display and shape sensing: when you open it up it automatically opens a notepad applications, and when you take it and curve it next to your ear it answers a phone call... pretty neat:

It's still pretty bulky of course, but this might be an interesting form factor for a phone. And it somewhat reminds us of the OLED bracelet that Universal Display and LG are developing for the US army:

Why did Bookeen use Sipix and not E Ink in their upcoming Orizon reader?

Bookeen are a France-based e-reader maker, that currently offer two models that use E Ink displays (the Cybook Gen3, available now for 350$, and the Opus, available now for 215$). They are set to release a new one, the Orizon, which uses Sipix e-paper instead. We have posted an interview with their CEO over at E-Reader-Info, discussing this, and other e-reader issues. If you don't want to read the whole interview, here's the 3 reasons why they moved to Sipix:

  1. AUO (Sipix) touchscreen is light year away from Sony resistive technology. You keep the optical quality of ePaper and you get an incredibly reactive touchscreen. For us touchscreen on such a large display is a must-have.
  2. AUO has great developments and move incredibly fast.
  3. They did not want to depend only on one screen manufacturer (PVI).

PVI plans color, flexible, touch and video enabled E Ink displays in 2010

PVI's chairman says that they plan to release color and flexible E Ink displays. They are also working on touch-enabled E Inks, and ones that support video. They predict that the market share of touch-capable e-readers will increase sharply in 2010. PVI wants to place the touch sensors behind the display, so image quality will be better.

PVI also reveals that E Ink's response time has increased, to the point where animation can be played.

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