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Eight Years Later And E-ink Still Likes Watches

Sonostar-smartwatch-feature-380x285[1]Computex is kicking off today in Taipei, and E-ink is showing off a new example of their screen tech. They have a new 1.7″ Mobius display that offers a resolution of 320×240, or about 231 ppi. It’s flexible and is intended to go into smart watches and other wrist apparel. There’s even a watch manufacturer lined up to use it.

Ooh, aah. Okay, so when is the news story going to start?

Sorry to be snarky but I really don’t see why that new 1.7″ screen is getting so much attention in the press (laziness, perhaps?). It’s not like this is the first E-ink watch, or even the first with a curved screen.

seiko1[1]That happened in 2005, actually. The first watch to use an E-ink screen was also the first to use a curved screen. The Seiko Spectrum, which is pictured at right, was announced in Japan over 8 years ago. (It cost $2,200, BTW.)

And that’s not even the only watch with an E-ink screen or even the only watch with a curved E-ink screen. Phosphor has been making watches with curved E-ink screens for some time now. They even have a smartwatch; you may have seen its Kickstarter campaign.

Show me a watch that does something new and I’ll ooh and aah over it.  Show me a screen that does something new and I’ll say nice things. E-ink hasn’t done either today, so I don’t see what the news story is.

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Mieiri June 4, 2013 um 7:51 am

three days since last update in the blog. I can’t see new feeds!

The Commons June 4, 2013 um 5:56 pm

Phosphor’s Touch Time is nothing like a real smartwatch. It’s a Casio Databank with fewer buttons.

The Mobius screens would have been a perfect match for the Pebble had it come out a year earlier.

Nate Hoffelder June 4, 2013 um 6:48 pm

Perhaps, but the screen is a matrix display, not a segmented display.

K Green June 5, 2013 um 1:05 pm

I have been wearing a Phosphor watch for over 3 years and it gets a lot of comments. The battery still has not needed to be replaced. But as with all eInk you can’t read it in the dark so a 'Paper White' version would be a really nice upgrade. Otherwise I don’t see what kind of upgrade the eInk display could really use. I just surprised its not more common in watchs.

W. Yu June 5, 2013 um 9:54 pm

I believe this is significant because it uses a flexible TFT backplane made of plastic. So it’s a curved *matrix* display which is way cooler than any other watch out there. Along with the Sony 13″ announcement, maybe we’ll finally see flexible plastic displays in the market? (Remember the promise of Plastic Logic and Polymer Vision?)

Nate Hoffelder June 5, 2013 um 10:34 pm

Except a watch face isn’t going to flex much, so really all that matters is that it is a matrix display. That’s already been done.

W. Yu June 6, 2013 um 5:44 pm

Very true, Seiko has a watch which was super expensive. But I don’t know of any curved matrix display (if that is what they are planning). I admit that I have a Phosphor watch and it gets a lot of comments. It would be even cooler if it were a curved matrix and I don’t really care if it flexes are not.

Anyways I hope these devices will be affordable and will catch on. I don’t know why more companies haven’t done E Ink models by now.

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