E Ink has just unveiled a new large screen e-paper display screen that will soon be hitting mass production. 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 new Sony 13 inch writing Slate announced yesterday will use this same display screen.
The new Mobius e-Paper screen was developed by Sony specifically for use with EPDs in cooperation with E Ink. Sony has now transferred the technology to E Ink for mass production. E Ink will start mass production of the world’s first 13.3 flexible EPD display in 2013. The resolution on the display is around 1200×1600 with only 150 PPI, which is fairly solid on a large screen display.
“We have been working with Sony for over 10 years, and we are extremely happy to bring this technology to mass production,” said Giovanni Mancini, director of product management for E Ink Holdings. “Development of this new digital paper product by Sony confirms our belief that the e-paper market is still strong.”
There is no word yet on the exclusivity of the Mobius screen technology, or if Sony has a license to introduce the product to the market first before E Ink will allow other vendors to use it in their products. Likely, 13 inches might be too big for your average e-reader, but some fringe companies like Onyx, Wexler, Ectaco, or Pocketbook may be looking to deploy it.
E Ink has been fairly stagnant in e-paper innovation over the course of the last two years. The company showed off the Triton 2 technology at CES this year, but it has failed to catch on in the market. Many e-reader companies we spoke with said that your average customer will look at an color e-paper screen and say the colors look washed out. They will inevitably compare it to the iPad and not even bother. About the only thing they have done to any success with their Pearl HD with front-lite that has done fairly well on the open market with the Kobo Aura HD and Kindle Paperwhite.
Late next week, when SID Display Week starts in Vancouver, we will bring you all hands on exclusive video of the screen and how it performs. We will also ask the hard questions on logistics and deploying it for other e-reader companies.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.