Entertainment, Hardware

Look Ma – E-Ink is in Color Now

E-Ink has gone color. Hanvon Technology is announcing a new colorful eReader that avoids the drawbacks of an LCD display – that of battery usage and glare in direct sunlight.

The familiar black-and-white of previous E-Ink displays is history, at least at Hanvon. They have the first eReader in this format to offer color. Tablet computers are bright and colorful, even cell phones offer multi-color screens. In contrast, eReaders are dull and gray, but honestly, so are pages in a novel. For printed color, choose an illustrated children?s book, or a table-top art or travel volume.

Hanvon Color e-Reader utilizes latest panel from E-InkCompetitors, Barnes and Noble which offers the Nook in color now, and the Apple iPad, have LCD screens with their inherent disadvantages. Still, the color E-Ink comes with its own draw back ? less than exciting colors. They appear muted, not brilliant like you?ve become accustomed to on your HDTV. Also, it is restricted to animation, instead of full motion video.

Sony?s e-Reader customers want color too, but Steve Haber, president of Sony?s digital reading business division, who is holding back, says color needs to be vibrant. "We?re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience."

Hanvon, the largest seller of e-Readers in China, was presenting at FPD [Flat Panel Display] International 2010, a trade show in Tokyo. They, like 90 percent of the world?s e-Readers, use E-Ink technology. Hanvon differs in that, now, their E-Ink displays will be in color. This is achieved by placing a color filter overlay on the standard black and white display. 

Although the new reader will debut in China, Hanvon sells tablets and e-Readers in the USA on line and through Fry?s, the electronic chain. Liu Yingjian, Hanvon founder, said "It?s possible that we?ll sell this in the U.S. as well."
E-Ink, although based in Cambridge Massachusetts, has an Asian presence, in that Prime View Holdings of Taiwan bought the company in 2009. It prides itself on being "Readable, Rugged, and Green".