E-Ink’s Triton 2 Color Screen Gains Frontlight, Loses Weight (video)

E-Ink's Triton 2 Color Screen Gains Frontlight, Loses Weight (video) Conferences & Trade shows e-Reading Hardware Here's one of those stories which I didn't think were important at CES. As you can see in the video, I was wrong.

About a month ago Ectaco announced their second doomed large-screen ereader, the Jetbook Color 2. This ereader is the first to have the Triton 2, the newest generation E-ink screen. At that time neither E-ink nor Ectaco were willing to share specific details on the technical specs for this screen but it seems that E-ink changed their mind for CES 2013.

The following video shows Sriram Peruvemba as he talks about the new screen. It has an improved color filter (it lays on top of the grayscale E-ink screen) as well as a frontlight. The Triton 2 screen is also thinner than it's predecessor.

The tech looks cool but it's probably never going to see much use. LCD screens are simply too good at color, and now that they're cheap and are found on tablets with decent battery life there isn't much of a market for color E-ink any more.

And then there's the screen resolution issue, which i think is the E-Ink's Triton 2 Color Screen Gains Frontlight, Loses Weight (video) Conferences & Trade shows e-Reading Hardware real reason Amazon and the other major ereader makers never adopted the Triton color screen.

The Triton screen gets its color from a filter layer which sits on top of a regular grayscale E-ink screen. In order to provide the standard RGB color pixels, the filter assigns one of the grayscale pixels for each color (and reserves a 4th pixel for white/black). This effectively cuts the screen resolution by 75%.

A color E-ink screen has a much higher resolution grayscale underneath it. The Jetbook Color, for example, has a screen resolution of 1200x1600 but in reality it can only display color at a resolution of 600x800 (and that's on a $500 device with a 9.7" screen). If you gave the KPW a color E-ink screen the resolution would drop to 512x379 or less than you could get on the average smartphone.

Do you see why Amazon went with an LCD screen for the Kindle Fire? It's not that Amazon could not buy color E-iink screens; the screen tech could have been made 4 or 5 years ago.

It just wasn't worth it.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

12 Comments

  1. yuzutea15 January, 2013

    The colors have improved somewhat, but are still dull. 800X600 might be acceptable on a 6″ screen, but it’s going to be really noticeable at 9.7″. However the lack of color contrast is still a killer.

    Unless they figure some other way of doing it, I think color e-ink is a def. nonstarter. Electro-wetting now looks like the best bet for color reflective screens.

    Reply
  2. flyingtoastr16 January, 2013

    “Do you see why Amazon went with an LCD screen for the Kindle Fire?”

    The drawbacks of Triton screens had nothing to do with that decision. The refresh rate is the primary reason why tablets use LCD displays – until an epaper can refresh fast enough for full motion they won’t be used for devices designed for moving media (apps, movies, etc).

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder16 January, 2013

      That is largely a software issue now. Some hackers have been doing video on the Nook Touch and Kindle Touch which are almost fast enough for real video apps.

      Reply
      1. Andrew24 January, 2015

        Really? Tell me more.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder24 January, 2015

          The latest news is a 13.3″ E-ink monitor which is fast enough for video:
          http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/01/06/e-ink-demos-13-3-second-screen-e-ink-monitor-ces-2015-video/

          Reply
  3. Mario16 January, 2013

    Didn’t anyone notice that horrible reflection?

    Reply
    1. Void16 January, 2013

      That’s just because they chose not to put a matte coating on. Your kindle screen would look like that too without the matte treatment, just like any other monitor.

      Reply
  4. Ken21 January, 2013

    I was thinking they should blow up the lcd industry, destroy every thing of its invention and start over fresh with e ink giving it a chance to succeed.

    Reply
  5. Max21 January, 2013

    why not use Electrofluidic display. EFD has superior brightness, color saturation, and video speed, all in a 15-micron thick panel that can eventually be used in rollable displays.

    Reply
  6. Tom20 February, 2013

    “About a month ago Pocketbook announced their second doomed large-screen ereader, the Jetbook Color 2”

    Why would they announce something their rivals would sell?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 February, 2013

      Whoops. Thank you.

      Reply
  7. Remstadt17 January, 2014

    I bought a kindle just to support the technology. I know that color e-screens might not be for everyone but I would like to say to Amazon not to underestimate the community. People often support things they believe in, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s economical. LCD might seem to be a better solution for some, but I think e-Ink is the right path forward.

    Reply

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