Good e-Reader exclusively learned a couple of weeks ago that E Ink has developed a new kind of color e-paper that will be available in digital note taking devices sometime in 2020. It will be able to display around 5,000 colors and give users the ability to draw and take notes in full color, which will be ideal for professionals, casual users and artists.
The name of the color e-paper is called Print-Color e-paper. E Ink told me that it can produce color for each pixel that is displayed on the screen. This includes red, green, blue, black or white. Colors can be combined to give you different colors or shades. The way it works is if you want light blue, blue will be toned down and white will be brighter. If you want orange, then yellow and red would be blended.
The engineering sample we saw had a bright and vibrant color scheme. There were all sorts of apps installed on the device and there were a bunch of shades. The drawing experience only had red, green, blue and black primary colors to select from, but this was a prototype. It also had a E Ink Regal waveform controller, that increased the refresh rate. The refresh rate will ultimately be improved by vendors who decide to use this technology and adopt things like A2 mode.
A senior E Ink Engineer explained the new technology in a statement to Good e-Reader. “The new color e-paper sample that was a CFA (Color Filter Array) type ePaper display, but instead of using glass-based CFA, the color filter is now printed on the E Ink ePaper film. That being said, it inherent all the characteristics and benefit s of B/W ePaper displays, still a reflective display technology, in addition it can displays color content. The color ePaper module itself will be thinner and lighter than the ones with glass-based CFA display module.
E Ink told Good e-Reader that the color panels will hit mass production in Q2 2020 and companies will be releasing new products later in the summer. No specific vendors were mentioned but sources told me that Sony, Remarkable, Onyx, Boyue and Pocketbook have all received engineering samples. Netronix who designs and manufactures the Nook and Kobo are also looking into it.
Some of the companies such as Boyue or Onyx run Android e-readers, which means not only will you be able to take notes, but also read ebooks using the Kindle app, Nook app, Kobo app or a myriad of comic or magazine apps. There was no timeline given for traditional e-readers such as the Kindle, Kobo or Nook.
Will you buy a color e-reader in 2020?
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.