Freescale has always played a major role in the evolution of the e-reader industry. The companies processors have powered the very first Kindle and continue to play a central role on the Kindle Voyage the Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus. In June, Freescale announced a major innovation, the IMX 7 dual core processor, which will change the game. How will Amazon, B&N and Kobo be able to adopt this into their future devices?
IMX 7 Dual will be one of those things that will change every facet of e-reader creation in 2016. The processor is optimized for e-ink Regal, which dramatically reduce the need for full page refreshes after a few page turns. Freescale told me that their new processors now handle Regal on the hardware level, instead of software. This is actually a very big deal, because e-reader companies can focus more on innovating their software and not be restricted as much. Freescale also informed me that worked with e-Ink during the processors creation, and that it supported Regal 2, which should be out sometime next year.
Likely the largest innovation in the IMX 7 dual core is support for hardware dithering. This will allow e-reader companies that work with the Linux or Android platforms to be able to include animated content on the software level. This will include truly animated page turns, interactive menus and video.
IMX 7 will go into mass production this November and we might very well see the Kindle Voyage 2 using this new processor. Sadly though, I don’t think the company will be able to properly take advantage of it.
It is going to take at least six months of the new processors being on the market before any company can properly take advantage of all of the features on the software level. If they want to include interactive menus, page turn animations and all sorts of little features, this is going to take time. The Kindle, Kobo and Nook operating systems were developed four years ago and have hardly changed whenever a new e-reader comes out. If they really want to offer a next generation experience they will have to basically rewrite their OS from the ground up, not an easy task.
I surmise that no product will be able to properly take advantage of IMX 7 processor until E-Ink Regal 2 comes out. Regal 2 will be optimized for all of the critical media features and interactive content. It will allow these companies who rewrite their operating system to make less software calls and offload onto the processor.
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.