E-Paper

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A source within Amazon has disclosed to Good e-Reader that the upcoming Kindle Paperwhite 3 will use new screen technology. The entire e-reader will be lighter than previous models, have higher resolution and incorporate a flexible display.

The Kindle Paperwhite 3 will be using screen technology that was developed by e Ink and Sony called Mobius. Mobius uses a TFT technology that will enable the development of much lighter and rugged products. Mobius displays can weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT. This is particularly important for mobile products requiring larger display areas.

The only commercially viable product to use Mobius screen technology was the Sony 13.3 inch e-reader. When I had the first exclusive hands on of it was the lightest device I have ever played with in the history of e-readers. The 13.3 inch screen is beguiling to behold and you would figure from looking at it that it would weigh significantly more than the Kindle DX. In truth it weighs only 12.6 oz, compared to the Kindle DX, which weighs a hefty 18.9 oz. The e-paper screen glides like a feather when dropped, as I found out.

e Ink Mobius e-Paper can be cut to a customers specific requirements, and still maintain the long battery life, lightweight nature and high resolution. This will insure that the new Kindle Paperwhite 3 will have all of the main benefits of the Sony 13.3 e-reader, but in a small, lightweight six inch screen.

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InkCase Lite

OAXIS has followed up its earlier attempt at an e-ink smartphone case with a new take on the concept which was unveiled at the ongoing MWC event. The InkCase Lite adds a secondary 3.5 inch 360 X 600 resolution Mobius e-ink display at the rear. It comes with its own battery and CPU which means it does not have to poach on the resources of the smartphone it is clamped on to. Also, this makes the system easy to use as well as there are no tech wizardry to deal with. The cases just have to be fitted with the matching smartphone and those will be ready for use. These communicate with the smartphone via Bluetooth.

What is even better this time is that OAXIS has stated they have enhanced the scope of the smartphone case this time, which means the InkCase Lite will be compatible with all smartphones currently available. That no doubt is a tall ask but at least the better known devices should come under the purview of the new case. In its first avatar, the InkCase Lite was limited to just the iPhone 5, Galaxy S4 and the Note 2 device which attracted a fair bit of criticism.

However, no matter how exciting the concept might sound, there is also no denying the fact that the add-on case does add some bulk to the smartphone. The lack of suitable apps to make the most of the secondary e-ink display also negated all the good things that the e-ink display could have introduced. The best we can have right now is EpiReader which can be used to read ebooks on the e-ink display. The EpiReader can also be used to engrave the display with a favorite quote. Similarly, the app InkCase Photo enables users to fillup the e-ink display with a photo while InkCase Sports can be used to make the display work as a sports timer. The Singpore company has also stated they are making available the InkCase/Lite SDK for developers to explore other ways to make the most of the secondary e-ink display.

Pricing remains a mystery right now, even more so now that the case has been made compatible with more smartphones this time. In any case it can’t be expected to be cheap either given the InkCase i5 now costs $149. With dedicated e-ink readers such as the Kindle ($69) or the Kindle Paperwhite ($119) being much cheaper than that, the choice could boil down to a cheaper but a bigger full-fledged ebook reader or a smaller and hence more portable smartphone add-on that costs a bit more.


Categories : E-Paper, e-Reader News
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Amazon purchased Liquavista from Samsung in 2013 and the intention behind the deal was to offer a new breed of color e-readers.There is active development at Amazon right now that will give us a six inch screen, with the same resolution as the existing Kindles, but with a full color screen. One of the big benefits of this screen technology is that it doesn’t draw much power. We might see a new Kindle by the end of the year with a Liquavista screen, according to recent job postings by Amazon.

Currently, Amazon is hiring for; Operations Program Manager (Asia based)Process Quality EngineerProduct Test EngineerProcess Development EngineerProduct Development Manager. These are obviously all senior level positions and the job descriptions mention working on multiple products at once.  This leads me to believe that we will not likely see just one new Kindle this year adopting this technology, but a few. One interesting note is some of the positions entail working directly with the boys over at Lab126. This is the research and development arm of the company, who basically designed every single Kindle ever made.

It will be interesting to see what Amazon does with the e-reader space with this screen technology. Obviously, color e-ink did not live up to the hype, because it could only display about a thousand colors, which made everything look washed out. If you look at the prototype Kindle screen below, you can get a sense of how content would look on a six inch e-reader.


Categories : E-Paper
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kindle brazil

Amazon has been selling eBooks in Brazil since 2012 and the only way you can buy the e-readers is if you purchased them through a 3rd party. Today, Amazon has announced they will begin selling their entire line of Kindle readers in Brazil.

The Brazilian Kindle division is being run by Alex Szapiro, a former Apple executive who is charge of deployment. According to industry figures, Brazilians bought 435 million books in 2012 worth $2 billion. Szapiro said ebooks were about 3% of total book sales.

Amazon is foregoing their massive warehouse distribution network that they own and operate in the USA, with their foray into Brazil. Instead, the physical distribution from online orders will be shipped from external partners, which currently are unknown.

Often, high import fees make e-readers inaccessible for your average reader. This is the main drawback of selling phones, tablets or e-readers in Brazil. We have word that the basic Kindle model will cost BRL 299, while the most expensive one, the PaperWhite 3G, costs BRL 699.

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Jan
12

E Ink Demos New Luggage Tags

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E Ink has been traditionally known for the screen technology found on popular e-readers such as the Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Aura and Sony PRS-T3. The company has been developing digital signage technology for the past year and a half, and now accounts for 6% of their revenue stream. This year at CES the company debuted a new luggage tag system that will allow travelers more flexibility to track checked baggage.

The tags are made of low-power E Ink screen technology that feature RFID for tracking and Bluetooth for information updates. Users can use an upcoming app to program in flight information and connector flights. This is a boon for the frequent traveller that needs to know if their luggage made it and track its exact position.

The tag system is currently being tested at by Vanguard ID and British Airways. It has also been approved by IATA, the trade association worldwide airlines.

Categories : CES, E-Paper
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The Yota Phone was a good idea with marrying a traditional E Ink display built into the back and a fully featured Android phone on the front. Being able to read eBooks without burning your eyes out is the reason why e-Readers have gained massive popularity in the last four years and you would figure a portable one would be amazing. Sadly, this is not the case. The Yota Phone suffers from a clunky interface, a sub-par reading experience and terrible hardware.

Good e-Reader is live on the scene at CES 2014 in Las Vegas Nevada and there were a few commercial release units of the Yota Phone. This was my first experience with this particular device and there is a huge learning curve in how to control the e Ink screen. There is absolutely no tutorials or documentation that outline exactly what you have to do to initiate the reading functionality. In order to take advantage of the e Ink screen you have to make sure the Android LCD is firmly off. In many cases the screen is simply asleep and it automatically wakes up if you are holding the phone to read.

The entire control scheme of the phone is the worst I have ever seen. There are no physical buttons, and instead you have to gesture on the bezel upwards or double tap in an indeterminate area to access the home screen. In some cases you have to swipe left or right to turn pages while reading a book. Some books require you have to turn pages using the volume keys, so there is no consistency in the eBook reading experience. The resolution is 640 x 360 pixel on the e-ink panel. Text can be fuzzy very hard to read, there is hardly any options to augment the text size too.

While the e-reading experience suffers overall, the pure Android phone is fairly satisfactory. Like most Android phones, all the keys are software driven.  It has a 4.3 inch screen with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. The dual core chip rated at 1.7 GHz does a good job at keeping things quick and peppy though it doesn’t have the more advanced quad core chips.

This phone is selling for close to $700 on the main Yota website and the limited production run was sold out right away. You can find one on the grey market, such as eBay for around $900. I would avoid this phone at all costs. If you are looking for a solid e Ink phone, take a look at the Onyx Phone that is going to hit the streets soon.

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Categories : CES, E-Paper
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Samsung Android phones tend to be very popular on the worldwide stage with the Korean company controlling over 35% of the entire market. A large advertising budget and low prices have helped catapult the brand into public consciousness. This is why many 3rd party cases and accessories tend to do well, because its the brand name phone most people own. Pocketbook is trying to appeal to readers across the spectrum with the new Pocketbook Cover. Today, we see what all of the fuss is about.

The Pocketbook Cover Reader is basically a second screen that has a resolution of 800×600. You need to use the official Pocketbook app in order to read books and setup your reading preferences. Readers can turn off the Galaxy S4 screen and just read on the e-ink screen. The case is designed to flip your phone on its back and use the e-ink screen as the reading panel. This won’t kill the phone battery by using the color display. Additionally, missed calls and received SMSs are displayed on it.

The new CoverReader will use Plastic Logic’s flexible EPD product; the 4.8” display will be manufactured in the company’s Dresden facility. This new display has a range of benefits, as such screens are flexible, shatterproof, ultra-thin, ultra-lightweight, power saving, and daylight readable.

From practical everyday usage, i don’t know if I could recommend this product. You need to exclusively deal directly with Pocketbook to buy and read your books. This makes it difficult, but not impossible to load in your own books. In order to get the case to work you have to open a book on the Android screen and hit a button at the top of the UI. This projects anything on the screen directly on the EINK screen. When this occurs, the Android screen dims and becomes inoperable. The e Ink screen is not touchscreen and you will have to use the page-up and page-down button to turn pages. If you want to increase the size of the font or change the font-type, you have to first do it on the Android LCD screen.

The Pocketbook Cover is a bit of a gimmick, and I doubt it will sell well on the market. It is bulky and cumbersome and does not easily flip around the phone, so you can just read the e Ink screen and cover up the LCD. It feels flimsy and cheap.

Categories : CES, E-Paper, e-Reader News
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Pebble had one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time and raised over ten million dollars to finance an e-paper smartwatch. The essence of this device is to pair to your iPhone, or Android device. It will give you notifications from Skype, eBay, Whatsapp, and basically any app that gives you notifications.

The Pebble is basically a watch that has Bluetooth capabilities. You can think of it as a dumb terminal for the functionality that exists on your phone or tablet. The only interactive elements it has is being able to activate your default music app, by playing, pausing or scrolling between tracks.

More apps are starting to build functionality into the Pebble, but they are few and far between. It seems iOS 7 devices have the best end-user experience by upgrading firmware and downloading new watch skins. Android has problems with default notifications and custom software must be downloaded.

The build quality on the Pebble is lacking severely. It is a plastic design and it keeps the costs between $80 and $150, depending on what market you’re in. This is basically designed by Silicon Valley geeks, for Silicon Valley geeks. I wish more devices hit the market that actually had higher build quality and had an emphasis on design. The real benefit on the Pebble is the e-Paper display, that lasts almost a month. It charges via a proprietary cable that ships with it.


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E Ink Holdings today announced the upcoming release of E Ink Fina, a new thin and lightweight electronic paper display (EPD) technology. Fina will be the first EPD that will go into mass production for small to large format digital paper products based on a thin glass Thin Film Transistor (TFT) technology. In conjunction, today PocketBook also announced PocketBook CAD Reader – the first Fina ePaper Android device designed specifically for displaying drawings generated with Autocad from Autodesk.

Fina is a glass based TFT technology that uses a very thin glass substrate to deliver products that are much lighter and thinner than what is possible with standard LCD displays. Fina displays weigh less than 50% of the weight of an equivalent glass based TFT and are less than 50% of the thickness as well. This is particularly important for mobile products requiring larger display areas. A 13.3″ Fina display module, installed in the Pocket CAD Reader, weighs approximately 60 grams.

“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.”

Categories : E-Paper
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pocketbook-cad-reader

Pocketbook is a well known brand that specializes in e-Readers and has a somewhat devout following of people who like to load in their own books. The company has always released devices that appeal to a wider consumer market since 2007 and is about to aim a new product at the business segment.

The PocketBook CAD Reader will be 13.3 inches and uses a powerful 1GHz dual-core CPU running Android 4.0.4 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage making it very responsive with a large capacity for storing designs. With built-in Wi-Fi and 3G modules, large 8000 mAh battery.

The new CAD Reader is the first device using a new E Ink technology called Fina ePaper. It is designed specifically for displaying drawings generated with Autocad from Autodesk. It comes pre-installed with a number of free and paid CAD-applications. There is enough internal memory to hold the plans for up to 200 construction projects, which can be edited and shared through the collaboration workspace. The built-in touch screen and precise Wacom digitizer support both touch and a stylus.

“Our goal was to develop a device to be used on construction sites. We created a highly portable large format display device with a rugged and weatherproof case that could hold all the CAD drawings a team needs. This makes designs available virtually anyplace and anytime,” – said Dmitriy Shemet, head of research and development at PocketBook. “We chose the E Ink Fina 13.3 inch display because it has exactly the right properties we were looking for to develop PocketBook CAD Reader. The PocketBook CAD Reader delivers a new user experience for architects and specialists in construction trades allowing them to work on site”.

I am quite surprised that Pocketbook actually is intending on releasing a new device with such great specs. The company has been somewhat notorious over the years of consistently selling modern devices with single core 800 MHZ processors and 512 MB of RAM. This makes the bulk of their products woefully slow, this new one is aimed at a different segment and is optimal for bringing it out in the field.

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e Ink has just unveiled their new corporate headquarters in the US, which puts their business and R&D divisions all under one roof. The new facility is a modern, open and collaborative space, labs, pilot facilities, test chambers and administrative offices, all under one roof. The company was previously headquartered in Cambridge.

The new E Ink Innovation Center represents a $36 million investment, is over 140,000 square feet, can hold up to 400 employees and reinforces E Ink’s position as a leading technological business innovator in Massachusetts. E Ink was just awarded the Silver Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Award by the MassEcon council for its outstanding contribution to the Massachusetts economy. The new HQ basically is double the size has the old buildings and should help the company facilitate growth into digital signage.

“The additional space will support E Ink’s growth and expansion into new markets, and will foster a more creative and collaborative environment for our employees,” said Felix Ho, CEO of E Ink Holdings. “Our new facility in Billerica was specifically designed with our technology needs in mind and offers us significantly more space. It gives our employees a dynamic and energizing working environment while allowing us to invest in the Massachusetts economy, growing our business where it all started.”

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A new Color e-Reader is being developed by five media companies based in Finland. Their intention is to offer a low cost device that can be charged via solar power and used primarily for the consumption of newspapers. There is a beta test beginning in November that will see the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper being delivered by their new cloud infrastructure.

Antti Korhonen of Leia Media confirmed to Good e-Reader that they are using the e Ink Triton 2 display screen on their device. It features a 9.7 inch screen and has a resolution of 1600×1200 pixels. One of the new things this reader has going for it is the solar cell battery. It will be able to recharge in direct or ambient light and this is currently the only way you can charge the device. It is also being billed as a waifer thin device in comparison to the Ectaco Jetbook Color, with dimensions of 203 x 250 x 6 mm.

“We would like to find out whether the physical newspaper can be replaced by a reading device delivered with the subscription”, said Santtu Parkkonen, Producer, Helsingin Sanomat development.

It will be interesting to see how this pilot project fairs due to the sheer amount of companies whose hands are in the cookie jar. Leia Media, Sanoma News, Bluegiga, Anygraaf and DNA have all developed this device an contributed technology.

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e-Ink has set a worlds record for the latest e-Paper sign that is installed at the UN Headquarters in New York. The eWall is an intricate combination of architectural, display and network engineering. It stands about 6 meters wide with 231 tiled 7.4″ displays arranged in a grid of 33 displays across by 7 displays high. With an overall resolution of 26,400 x 3,360 pixels, it is perfect to read at long and short distances.

The essence of the eWall is to provide delegates with scheduling, news and other information. One of the more interesting aspects is the design mode that will show giant high resolution images; or can fade seamlessly into an unobtrusive wall when turned off.

“The eWall is a perfect example of E Ink enabling designers to deliver information where they never thought possible before,” said Harit Doshi, head of signage business and director of business development for E Ink Holdings. “This project further demonstrates E Ink’s diversification into different markets – specifically the digital signage market – as a key focus market segment.”

E-ink is hoping for strong promotional value with the sign at UN Headquarters. Currently 70% of their total revenue stems from e-paper displays and signage only accounts for 5%. They are hoping to increase brand awareness in this new segment to offset the cumulative financial loses the last few quarters.

Categories : E-Paper
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