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E-ink Shows Off Color Frontlit eReader, Dual Sided Smartphone, & More at IFA Berlin

IFA-Berlin is going on right now and Charbax is in the thick of it. A couple days ago he got a few minutes with Sri Peruvemba, the head of marketing at E-ink, and as usual Charbax got a look at gadgets that no one else has posted.

Do you remember the dual sided dual screen smartphone? It turns out that the second screen was just a dummy. The device everyone has been looking at is more of an idea piece than a functional design. Charbax gets that detail out of Sri at about 15:40 into the video. Surprisingly, the dummy screen is the LCD screen, not E-ink. But on the upside Sri does say that real phones using 2 real screens are only a couple months away. E-ink is working with partners to finalize designs and get them into production.

Charbax also got the first look at E-ink’s newest prototype, the one with a color lighted E-ink screen. No one is producing it yet, but as you can see in the video (at 10:36) it looks rather cool. It’s almost cool enough that the glare from the frontlight layer doesn’t bother me.

Elsewhere in the video you’ll find E-ink’s flexible screens, including the Wexler FlexOne, E-ink signage (26:10), a sample piece E-ink screen for that dual sided smartphone (20:30), and more.

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Anne September 2, 2012 um 7:41 am

Is the Wexler FlexOne for sale anywhere yet?

Nate Hoffelder September 2, 2012 um 7:56 am

Wexler is a Russian company and it hit the market there in April.

The Commons September 2, 2012 um 7:55 am

"Surprisingly, the dummy screen is the LCD screen, not E-ink."

Ha, (sort of) called it!

DavidW September 2, 2012 um 10:02 am

Srie tried to weasel in credit for the glowlight, I like that the reporter called him on it.

He then tried to show how fast the display with an unresponsive reader. Look how fast it is… more like look how I have to turn the page 3x before it does it.

Sri downplays the huge battery drainage that video on an eink display would be.

He later makes comments that the color saturation on the color eink surpasses an lcd if put in daylight… what if you put both in daylight? Then duh but not saying much. Any other interpretation is clearly a lie.

I like how Sri tries to promote the poor Triton screen by saying that with a frontlight the colors pop. Um no, they still look like washed out pastels just brighter. Color brightness is not equal to color saturation.

There was so much half truths and willful deception that watching that video was really just a waste of time.

Doipin September 2, 2012 um 2:06 pm

What would be your estimation Nate regarding a comercial release of the new frontlit Triton display? Already this year?

Nate Hoffelder September 3, 2012 um 6:32 pm

I doubt we’ll ever see it. Right now LCD is a better value than color E-ink, and I expect it to stay that way.

Isles September 3, 2012 um 10:10 am

E Ink has a monopoly on their market, and as a result they are making some of the worst decisions possible (there is no competition to put them in check). Instead of developing new HD technologies for eReader screens, they are spending all of their R&D funding on street sidewalk displays, signage displays, and hokey concepts like traffic light replacements and sheet music stands, all of which have never made it past the prototype stage. When a company, whose success was founded on eReading, devotes itself to creating the next groundbreaking air conditioner unit display while letting their reader technology stagnate . . . you know they have a problem.

If the new Kindle doesn’t feature some sort of an HD E Ink screen, we will know where their priorities are at. I can’t fault them for trying to expand their business, but seriously, we have been using the same crappy E Ink Pearl display for the past three years! That is an incredible lag time between updates in the technology world. I want 600dpi, 32 shades of grey, and some serious contrast improvement. Give me something here, Sri!

DavidW September 3, 2012 um 6:07 pm

I think so too! It is great to think of the future, but to let r&d define your company… no. You have to focus on the core product first and foremost. A competitor could marginalize e-ink very quickly if the tablet market doesn’t get too it first. By the time eink gets off their butts, it will be too late.

Binko Barnes September 3, 2012 um 1:58 pm

Isles, I agree with you 100%. I’ve been buying eInk readers since the original kindle. But I feel like I’m stuck with a stagnant technology.

It’s long past time for improvements in the current generation of relatively low-contrast, slow-refresh, low-definition eInk screens. If we don’t see something with real improvement in the next generation kindle I’m done with eInk and will move to a tablet.

eInk may believe that hardcore readers are a captive market. But we aren’t. Tablets keep getting better and better while eInk readers feel more and more like clunky unsupported technology.

Isles September 3, 2012 um 2:54 pm

You got it Binko. I am fed up too. I have owned all the Kindles, Nooks, and three different Sony Readers. I bought a brand new Kobo Touch this year, and the screen on my Kindle 2 was ten times better than the latest Kobo Pearl display. There is absolutely no excuse for this. We should have had HD E Ink screens last year.

I can’t tell if the new Kindle will actually have a new HD "Paperwhite" display, or if this is just an ad gimmick catchphrase. If I see 600 x 800 resolution specs on the Kindle 5, I’m not even going to bother.

It takes a little while to get used to reading on a backlit LCD display, but the Nexus 7 and the iPad 3 have such beautiful high res displays, you can easily change over to reading on a tablet. I was an early E Ink convert. Reading on E Ink displays used to be amazing, but now. when compared to the iPad’s retina display, E Ink Pearl screens look exactly like the 3-year-old technology that they are.

namekuseijin September 4, 2012 um 7:33 am

funny. Now Pearl is "crappy" and retina screen throwing a flashlight onto your eyes is great and healthy. I thought e-ink screens were supposed to be better precisely because reading on them feel like reading printed paper and because the low-refresh rates allow for far greater battery life. Perhaps you guys have just drank a bit much of shiny cool-aid?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been doing all my e-reading on smartphone, though I recently ordered an e-ink device for reading more comfortably.

Ryan October 16, 2012 um 10:41 pm

One of the reasons I ditched my smartphone and bought a Kindle 3 was for the lack of ability to comfortably read on it….would be quite interesting to see someone use an epaper display as a secondary on a smartphone.

PocketBook zeigt farbigen E-Ink-eReader mit Frontlight | eBook-Fieber November 13, 2012 um 2:57 pm

[…] jede Menge positive Reaktionen bekommen. Nate von The Digital Reader hat damals einen solchen Prototyp am E-Ink-Stand entdeckt und das Ganze in einem Video festgehalten. Sieht schon recht beeindruckend aus, was die Beleuchtung bei dem farbigen eReader ausmacht. […]

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