Eink goes colour -

Electronic paper display maker E Ink has come up with a new version of the technology which can produce thousands of colours.

The technology called E Ink Triton, can handle the 16 levels of grey found in current ereader displays, as well as thousands of colours, with both text and colours readable in direct sunlight.

Eink claims that the colour epaper displays are up to 20 percent faster than previous E Ink displays, making page-turns and rendering even more usable. The first product to sport the colour E Ink is apparently out. It's an ereader from Hanvon, makers of the Wisereader, although we are yet to see details on it.

E Ink chairman Scott Liu, in a statement. "Triton will compliment our monochrome product line to enable new markets."

The Triton colour epaper is a reflective electrophoretic display that can handle images with 4 bits of depth for a total of 4,096 colors, plus the same 16 levels of grey existing E Ink monochrome displays can handle.

Like traditional epaper Triton holds its image even when the power is off. It is still slower than conventional displays. A page can take a full second to update. However it is readable in direct sunlight and has a viewing angle of virtually 180 degrees.

On the downside it offers a scant 10:1 contrast ratio which means that the colour is not that great, particularly in comparison to an LCD display. However in sunlight you can't see an LCD display and Eink hardly uses any electricity.

Where it is good is producing maps, graphics, charts, graphs, comics and advertising into ebooks.

E Ink says it can make displays with resolutions in excess of 200 dpi at sizes ranging from 2 to 12 inches. A normal printed graphic is 300 dpi.

It expects the technology to be widely seen in the next few months.