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Displays Hardware

Rollable E Ink Displays Get Real 116

An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago Philips unveiled a prototype of a functional electronic-document reader, called the Readius, which could unroll its display to a scale larger than the device itself. Unfortunately, that was only a prototype. According to Cnet, however, Polymer Vision, which spun out from Philips in 2006, has redesigned the Readius and turned it into a real product that it is going to be available by the end of this year. There are some notable differences between this Readius and the prototype version, in particular, the ability to display 16 shades of grey instead of just 4 and the connectivity options. What doesn't make sense though, is given the energy efficiency and easy-to-read high contrast functionality of E Ink, why other than Motorola with its Motofone, has no other cell phone manufacturer incorporated E Ink technology into its handsets?"
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Rollable E Ink Displays Get Real

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  • Audiobooks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @12:19PM (#18060056) Homepage Journal
    I used to be really excited about this technology, thinking I could bring a bunch of books and articles in my pocket and read them whenever I needed to wait.

    Then I discovered audiobooks. Just put them on your MP3/Ogg player and listen to them everywhere where you need your eyes but not your ears -- in the car, on your bike, cleaning the kitchen, et cetera. I'm working my way through the entire 20 piece science fiction/fantasy book series of Pern [], written by Anne McCaffrey. Absolutely great.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:05PM (#18060380)
    It can't display video, or serve as the display for a camera phone. Seriously- the update cycle on eInk is up to half a second or more, something they don't like to talk about. That makes it a pain even for scrolling through your address book.

    Which means people are missing the point. This technology should be set around a different target: the dedicated e-Book reader. I want two pages, the size of a comfortable paperback, that fold together to make an ultra-thin folder-like book. It doesn't have to roll up, it just has to be flat and thin. Imagine having a library of e-Books that are COMFORTABLE on the eyes, folded neatly in your bookbag. It doesn't matter if it takes 1.5 seconds to flip to the next page.

    I don't get what this has to do with a cell phone at all.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:15PM (#18060440)
    It has indeed been over 2 years since this was announced. I wonder what is going wrong ? Are these displays too expensive ? Too many patents ? Difficulty in designing ? What is going wrong here ?

    They're not expensive compared to LCDs, but they're expensive compared to paper. Since e-ink is supposed to make cheap and portable e-books a reality, you need to have an e-book that's cheap enough for consumers to want--the technology isn't well-suited to anything but static text and images, so you can't try to sell an e-book that, for example, also plays video games.

    Since more people want to make phone calls than read books, e-books need to be pretty darned cheap to sell well (schools could be a prime market, but they're all broke, too). Personally, I wouldn't buy one until it broke the $99 barrier AND was as small and portable as a paperback book, and they haven't gotten to that point yet.
  • by wbd ( 88361 ) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:34PM (#18060962)
    Actually, it does that intentionally so I doubt there will be a way to "get around it". It's not static, it's the entire page going solid black for an instant. This apparently is to prevent "burn in" of the e-ink "pixels" which definitely does happen. I noticd ghost images of large text from a previous page occasionally when I played with the Sony Reader in the local CompUSA.

    But at $350-$400, forget it. I'm getting an eBookWise reader at $124.

    It's a more evolved version of the old GemStar/RCA ebook I have. Better screen and other features, but same case.

    I noticed the Sony Reader was hard to hold and felt flimsy. The GemStar/eBookWise unit has a nice raised edge on one side where they also store a LARGE (but fairly light) battery and feels really good and solid in your hand.
  • call me when... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:45PM (#18061034)
    i can get a big screen television that sticks to the wall like a large poster or glued on like wallpaper...
  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) * on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:48PM (#18061440) Journal
    I have a Sony Portable Reader --- in fact since, surprisingly, no one here seems to have reviewed it, I'm trying to find time to write one, but it must use different E-ink technology. It doesn't have a backlight, and the contrast degrades rapidly with the light. If there's a lot of light, it is quite readable, and the background even looks white, but with just a single lamp or a couple normal incandescent lights, it goes gray with a very slight greenish cast. Admittedly, I've been reading most of my books on the very brightly backlit Treo 650 for the last couple years, and I'm getting old enough that my light sensitivity has noticeably diminished (though far from being a problem yet), but I find the Reader to be somewhat worse than a real book. While it's readable if you set things up properly, I still find the Treo to be the best reading device so far. The small size is only a disadvantage for figures and images, and Acrobat Reader for the Palm isn't perfect in its translation, but it works well enough.
  • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @11:06PM (#18063878)

    you can't try to sell an e-book that, for example, also plays video games.

    I would be happy to have sit and read while listening to music. If my music player/book interupted me for incoming phone calls, that would be an incredibly convenient bonus. It's actually something I've complained about before with my phone, that the music player is great, the ability to take calls is obviously a necessity, but the inability to read text without going cross eyed is a major headache, and I stand on the train to and from work, so laptops are pointless there. If I have documents I want to take home with me to read, I print them out.

    That's the market for these things, IMHO. People who don't need fancy graphics and animation, but an easy on the eye, foldable and passive display technology integrated into mobile devices.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.