The Fina screen module, which is being used in the recently announced Pocketbook CAD Reader, features a lighter and thinner glass backplane. This screen replaces the glass TFT backplane used in many E-ink screens with a very thin glass substrate that promises to deliver screens that are much lighter and thinner than in standard LCD screens. It is now available to be built into E-ink screens of all sizes from 5", to the 13.3" screen used in the Pocketbook CAD Reader. According to the press release, a Fina screen weighs less than half as much as an E-ink screen which uses an existing backplane, and it is less than half as thick.
As a result the Fina screen in the Pocketbook CAD Reader weighs only 60 grams. This device, which was only announced a few hours ago, runs Android 4.0 on a dual-core 1GHz CPU. It runs software designed to display blueprints from AutoDesk as well as other construction documents.
"Fina adds to E Ink's portfolio of innovative display products which enable unique consumer and engineering products," said Giovanni Mancini, director of product management for E Ink Holdings. "The extremely low power requirements, thinness, lightweight and readability under all lighting conditions truly enable design engineers to display information where they never thought possible before."
That's great and all but it's not like there was any technical reason preventing larger screens from going on the market; the roadblock is that there isn't much of a market for larger screens due to development and manufacturing costs.
And given the relatively low density/sharpness
resolution of the Fina screen (150ppi, compared to 265 PPI on the Kobo Aura HD or 212 ppi on 6" Pearl HD E-ink screens) I don't expect to see very many small devices use it either.
But once you filter out the hype this is still a fascinating technical achievement (confirming once again that I am a nerd.).