Amazon was the first company to release a 10.2-inch screen with a 300 PPI display, the Kindle Scribe. Everyone else who has issued products in this space have been 10.1, 10.2 or 10.3 and can only handle 212 to 227 PPI. Amazon did not create a special screen with E INK, they are using the same off the shelf e-paper screens as everyone else, so there is no stopping other companies from developing their own 10.2-inch screen with 300 PPI. The most likely candidate is Kobo, since they have the financial capability to release a second generation Kobo Elipsa with a 300 PPI screen.
In 2021 Kobo released their first digital note taking device, called the Elipsa. The Kobo Elipsa features a 10.3 inch E INK Carta 1200 display and a resolution of 1404 by 1872 with 227 PPI. So, the Kobo is 10.3, whereas the Scribe is 10.2, which is not much of a difference, however Amazon managed to do 300 PPI, instead of the Kobo with 227 PPI.
One of the ways the Kobo Elipsa is different from the Scribe, is the screen. Kobo did not get official WACOM certification, so the only pen that is compatible to draw, take notes or edit books, is the official Kobo Pen. However, the Elipsa can do 4096 levels of pressure sensativity, whereas the Scribe can barely handle 5.
Kobo has a better writing experience than the Scribe, since it has been out on the market longer, so their freehand drawing and PDF editing features are more advanced. Kobo also makes money selling content from their online bookstore, such as audiobooks, books, comics and manga. This is where they make their real money on the Elipsa.
Will Kobo release a second generation Elipsa with a 300 PPI screen? It all depends on if Netronix can make a 10.2-inch Carta 1200 panel with 300 PPI or not. I have reached out to Netronix, where all Kobo products are produced, in Taiwan. The million dollar question is if they have the capability to do this for Kobo, or if Amazon developed their own custom screen in conjunction with E INK. Normally, if E INK does something new for one of their customers, they often issue a press release advertising it, but they did not.
From my understanding. E INK can cut e-paper panels depending on customers needs. If a big company like Amazon or Kobo want to order one million 10.2 or 10.3 screens, E INK can do it. Differently sized panels have, by default, certain resolutions. I do know that resolution can be controlled via software. Bigme did this on a few of their devices, where they were able to increase the resolution past the theoretical maximum with software adjustments. This is likely what Amazon did, and Kobo can do this too.
The Elipsa 2 would make the most sense with a 300 PPI display. Since, Kobo doesn’t really make a huge profit selling the hardware, it is all made selling digital content to users. Increasing the resolution would make books and manga look even sharper and customers would respond, by buying the second generation model. Amazon has put the entire e-note and e-reader business on notice with the advent of the Scribe. If companies are not making 10-inch models by 2023, they will be dinosaurs.
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.