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.
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 1200×1600 but in reality it can only display color at a resolution of 600×800 (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 512×379 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.