E-ink Debuts Spectra 3 Color Display – Not Ready For eReaders

spectra_img_052113[1]E-ink has managed to be the most exciting and biggest letdown at SID Display Week this year.

They’ve just unveiled a new screen tech that promises to offer the sharp color that the Triton 2 color E-ink lacks in no less than 3 colors, but unfortunately it is also limited to exactly 3 colors.

The Spectra 3 Color Display is the second new shelf label tech that E-ink is showing off this year. It’s based in part on Sipix screen tech that E-ink bought last year, a detail which the following chart made clear and which was confirmed by E-ink’s reps.

e-ink spectra electronic shelf label 1
Click to enlarge

This is E-ink’s first practical example of a screen that uses more than simply black and white: it adds red to the mix. The screens I saw really were as red as the image at right, but sadly that is the only shade of red that this screen can show.

The downside to the Spectra screen tech (and the reason it’s only being offered as a shelf label) is that this screen can only show black, white, or red.

But what this screen tech cannot do is show pink, gray, or any shade in between. Spectra is no more and no less than a 3 color display, in much the same way that a Pearl E-ink screen is a 16 color display (16 shades of black, white, and gray).

Update: I’ve just come across an animated GIF that shows the red, black, and white ink capsules in action:


While I’m sure that E-ink would like to develop a variation on this screen tech that could be used for ereaders, they were not willing to even guess when that might happen. But they did say that it will be available as a shelf label later this year with screen sizes measuring from 2″ to 6″.

So when you see this video, don’t get too excited over the fact that this 6″ screen has a resolution of 1024×758:

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. 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.


  1. charlie22 May, 2013

    totally kicking myself for not finding time to go to SID. The confusion over the freezer version would be the only Bi-Stable ESL material available in both segmented AND Active Matrix. the others that ar e freezer worthy are probably just LCDs

  2. Spectra 3 Color Display, un pequeño paso para el Hombre...22 May, 2013

    […] Fuente e Imagen –  The Digital Reader […]

  3. […] E Ink shows off 3-color ePaper displays, coming to shopping store labels, not eBook readers Tired of E Ink displays that only show shades of black and white. Here’s one that shows red too. But a 3-color screen isn’t really much use for reading eBooks, so these screens are initially aimed at electronic displays at retail stores and similar applications.. [The Digital Reader] […]

  4. […] Di seguito, un video pubblicato da The Digital Reader […]

  5. […] Vollfarb-Version der Spectra-Technik ist aktuell nicht in Aussicht, wie Nate von The Digital Reader in Erfahrung gebracht […]

  6. […] ?i, mai jos, un GIF animat despre func?ionarea lui Spectra [sursa]. […]

  7. […] have been craving a better way to catch the eye of consumers. E-ink's first step in this direction, Spectra (red), came out two years ago and enabled retailers to accent a sign with red, white, or black inks, and […]

  8. […] E-ink bought Sipix in 2012 and then used that company's tech to develop 3-color shelf labels. That tech never made its way into ereader screens, and Guangzhou OED's new graphene epaper will […]

  9. […] just white and black pigment capsules in each pixel like regular E-ink screens (or in the case of Spectra, yellow/red, black, and […]

  10. […] red, and pink, dark red, and gray). The earliest Spectra screens could show exactly 3 colors when launched in 2013, so if this screen can do more then it would mean E-ink has improved the tech a lot in the last 5 […]

  11. […] six years back E-ink launched a 3-color screen to be used in signage. The tech is called Spectra, and it featured red, black, and white colors […]

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top