Remember that frontlit color ereader which E-ink showed off at IFA Berlin? It’s turned up again, this time in the hands of Pocketbook.
Kiev-based ereader manufacturer Pocketbook has just announced that they plan to make the world’s only ereader with a lighted color E-ink screen. The new new ereader will have an 8″ screen with a resolution of 800×600, a capacitive touchscreen, and Wifi. It’s not clear yet what the rest of the specs are, but this ereader will likely have a card slot, internal storage, and I’m betting it will also have Bluetooth.
There’s no price mentioned in today’s announcement, but Pocketbook has said that the new ereader, which I am calling the Pocketbook Color, is going to hit the market in June 2013.
This ereader is based on a slightly newer version of the Triton E-ink screen. It can display up to 4096 colors at a resolution of 800×600, which is a slightly higher density than previous color E-ink screens. Actually, right now I don’t know if that last figure is the resolution for color or for grayscale, though I expect that it is the color resolution.
As you might know, E-ink screens get the red, blue, and green colors not from the pixels in the screen but from a filter laying on top of the screen. One colored pixel actually requires 4 pixels in the E-ink screen, one each for red, green, blue, and white/black.
So a color E-ink screen with a resolution of 800×600 is actually lying on top of a grayscale screen with a resolution of 1600×1200. The resolution gets cut in half twice thanks to the need for the color pixels.
In any case, I’m hoping this ereader will have more success than the last ereader with a color E-ink screen. The Jetbook Color ended up much delayed, under-equipped, and overpriced. As a textbook platform I found it a poor alternative to the iPad or pretty much any Android tablet.