The Bookeen research and development team is working on overdrive these days trying to regain some prominence in the e-reader arena. Most of their current gen e-readers are expensive and rather outdated compared to the low price and value of the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and others. Today in an attempt to stay relevant with the times, they showed off a new e-ink panel that plays high frame rate video!
The current prototype utilizes e-Ink Holdings Pearl based screen technology. It also is running on a solid Intel Cortex A8 processor. You will notice from the video that the refresh rate is the fastest we have ever seen in an e-ink display.
Although we will not see this technology in an e-reader anytime soon, Bookeen informed us that this video destroys the battery life and will only give you 3 or 4 hours of video playing.
Update Feb 15 2011
Bookeen was kind enough to get in touch with us regarding this video and shed a ton of light on what is going on during this tech demenstration. Claire Jennesson has this to say about the video;
1)The entire demo is done with components available on the market.
For the Hardware architecture, it’s OMAP 3621 (Cortex A8) using its internal Software EPD controller and for the screen it’s a very standard Pearl Eink screen from Eink (ex-PVI). On top there is a bit of Bookeen’s know-how on the software side, but nothing special (this is the way we see it from our side at least).
2)What is interesting also here is that we use a standard H.264 video, no special treatment before loading it on the board. Thus you can understand that the Cortex A8 is able to uncompress the video and drive the EPD controller at the same time. A very demanding task, indeed.
3)In this mode Power consumption is comparable to a standard LCD but WITHOUT backlight. So not that much in fact.
4)The idea here is to show what will be available in our next readers’ generation in terms of speed. In fact this speed will be available in every compartment of the interface. Handwriting will really become instantaneous and completely comparable to what you get on real paper.
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.