6 Upcoming Color Epaper Technologies

6 Upcoming Color Epaper Technologies

Should you’re seeking to purchase an e-reader, it’s best to wait a bit of longer. Shade e-reader screens, like E Ink’s Superior Shade e-Paper model 2 (ACeP v2 or Gallery 4100) and TCL’s Nxtpaper applied sciences, might revolutionize how we learn ebooks in 2022 and past. So, if you happen to’re questioning why it’s best to wait, listed here are the highest six backlight-free applied sciences that may change how we learn within the close to future.

e-ink demo of ACeP technology for ereaders

E Ink’s Gallery 4100 e-paper know-how is uncommon as a result of it has vibrant colours and might shortly refresh black-and-white textual content. Nevertheless, many unanswered questions stay relating to its availability, technical specs, and price. Luckily,

E Ink’s Affiliate Vice President, Timothy O’Malley, shared particulars on E Ink’s upcoming Gallery 4100 coloration E Ink show throughout a January 2022 interview.

Whereas E Ink refers to its coloration E Ink know-how as Superior Shade ePaper (ACeP v2), its working title is Gallery 4100. Gallery 4100’s title will possible change sooner or later when it reaches shoppers. At the moment, Gallery 4100 is just accessible as a growth equipment.


As of 2022, the closest you may get to Gallery 4100 is the 13.3-inch Atelier development kit, which prices $800. In any other case, there is not any info on when ACeP v2 know-how will attain ereaders.

Curiously, O’Malley talked about that E Ink sells Gallery 4100 growth kits. Nevertheless, there is a lengthy lag time between when {hardware} growth begins and when a ultimate product reaches shoppers. So whereas E Ink is actively working to cut back ACeP’s limitations to market, there’s nonetheless a methods to go.


ACeP v2 Shade E Ink Is Designed for Ereaders

The large revelation is {that a} four-color pigment E Ink system is coming to ereaders. Whereas E Ink declined to state any upcoming product launch date, they did verify particular options. Crucial characteristic is fast-refresh:

“The refresh price is impacted by the variety of particles being moved inside a capsule or Microcup®. Within the video you referenced, the black and white photographs are solely requiring the black and white particles to maneuver, not the complete 4 which can be contained throughout the capsule.”

The video talked about within the quote refers to a now-removed clip demonstrating ACeP v2’s coloration and black-and-white capabilities. The lacking video confirmed that ACeP v2 can flip black-and-white pages related in pace to Carta panels.

In 2022, Tim O’Malley additional elaborated on ACeP’s quick refresh capabilities. Whereas Gallery 4100 makes use of 4 pigments to generate coloration photographs, it solely makes use of two colours to generate blacks. In different phrases, Gallery 4100 can quickly improve refresh speeds by computationally simplifying the picture it is drawing. A black-and-white picture has much less complexity relative to paint, so Gallery 4100 can render it extra shortly.

ACeP v2 Might Price Extra Than Black-and-White E Ink Ereaders

In contrast to E Ink and different applied sciences that use black-and-white pigments, ACeP makes use of 4 colours.

The added complexity causes the slower refresh speeds since each time a coloration picture is displayed on display, the {hardware} arranges cyan, magenta, yellow, and white (CMYW) in elaborate and complex combos, which represent a picture. A black-and-white panel solely wants to rearrange two pigments on the display. The diminished complexity means sooner web page turns, though coloration refreshes take significantly longer to refresh.

The added complexity might imply that ACeP v2 requires beefier {hardware} and costlier manufacturing processes. Because of this, early ACeP panels may price a major quantity greater than black-and-white E Ink. ACeP growth kits, that are already accessible in digital signage merchandise, price lots of of {dollars}.

If that is a sign of what a client e-reader would price, then it might stay unaffordable. Nevertheless, if any coloration reflective display ever makes its method right into a Kindle, it’s going to possible be ACeP due to its excessive coloration saturation and quick refreshes for black-and-white textual content. These traits make ACeP excellent for studying textbooks and comedian books.

Gallery 4100 consumes barely extra energy than E Ink Carta. Nevertheless, in accordance with O’Malley, Gallery 4100’s energy consumption is infinitesimally smaller than the Wi-Fi energy drain. In different phrases, most customers will not discover any distinction in battery life. So whereas the Gallery 4100’s advanced, four-pigment system might require further energy, it is a trivial quantity.

ACeP v2’s Price, Measurement, and Decision Are Unknown

O’Malley declined to touch upon the value, dimensions, or launch date. Nevertheless, we all know that Gallery 4100 will price greater than a black and white E Ink show as a result of its complexity. The precise value distinction, sadly, stays unknown.

2. E Ink Kaleido Plus

E Ink Kaleido makes use of color-filter array (CFA) know-how to generate coloration. A CFA is a skinny layer of coloured polymer filter stretched over one other panel, often an electrophoretic panel, like E Ink. The a number of layers create a full-color show, though with diminished decision in comparison with a normal E Ink panel. Sadly, CFA’s colours additionally aren’t visually interesting and have the looks of Jet-Puffed Fruity Marshmallows.

At the moment’s finest CFA panels have a coloration depth of someplace round 4,096 colours, or High Color. Nevertheless, moreover having a restricted coloration palette, Kaleido Plus panels have low coloration saturation. In different phrases, colours look washed out. Nevertheless, in our evaluation of the Onyx Boox Nova 3 Shade, even with diminished decision and weak coloration saturation, the e-reader is not unhealthy. Sadly, it lacks the vibrancy you’d count on of a Kindle.

3. Show Digital Slurry (DES)

DES know-how seems to be an terrible lot like E Ink Kaleido, besides its coloration saturation is greater, and it prices much less. DES makes use of a novel latticework of “cofferdams” for its black-and-white layer and a red-blue-green CFA layer to generate coloration. As a result of DES know-how makes use of fewer parts in its show stack, it additionally has greater coloration saturation. Moreover, as a result of it is less complicated in comparison with E Ink, it is also inexpensive.

We reviewed an early coloration DES panel on the Reinkstone R1 coloration e-reader in 2021. Whereas the colour saturation is markedly richer than Kaleido, the DES panel suffered from quite a few teething points, particularly a significant issue with picture artifacts and ghosting. In actual fact, Reinkstone dropped the DES panel within the R1 and moved on to a second-generation model of the panel. As such, we do not know what the ultimate product will appear like.

Different units are slated to obtain a DES panel, such because the Topjoy Butterfly. Nevertheless, since DES know-how is actually a variation on Kaleido, it is unlikely to make its method into the Amazon Kindle.

4. TCL’s Nxtpaper Mid With Reflective LCD

TCL introduced a brand new reflective LCD (RLCD) know-how at IFA 2020 referred to as Nxtpaper. Sadly, TCL’s RCLD know-how was delayed quite a few instances. Due to the pandemic’s influence on international provide chains, it appears to have been solid into Limbo. TCL declined to touch upon the long run availability of the Nxtpaper Mid pill. Though video of the know-how signifies good coloration saturation, even with the backlight turned off.

Whereas TCL introduced the TCL Nxtpaper 10s at CES 2022, the 10s is not an RLCD unit. It as an alternative makes use of a normal LCD display with diminished blue-light emissions.

It is unknown whether or not TCL will ever launch their Nxtpaper Mid pill.

5. ClearInk

clearink demo unit at display week 2019

ClearInk’s reflective know-how relies on electrophoretic know-how, similar to E Ink’s panels. Additionally, like E Ink’s Kaleido, it makes use of a CFA layer to generate coloration. Nevertheless, not like E Ink, it makes use of a single black pigment as an alternative of a two-pigment system. ClearInk first introduced its know-how in 2016 however has since picked up companions resembling Lenovo and show manufacturing big Tianma.

ClearInk manages to do a couple of issues that its rivals can’t: cost-efficient coloration video with out requiring a backlight. Sadly, ClearInk appears to have fallen silent on-line regardless of its manufacturing companions. It has remained quiet since 2019, and as of 2022, it seems it hasn’t launched a single product whereas E Ink has launched a number of refinements of its Kaleido know-how. Even so, ClearInk has a number of benefits over its rivals.

ClearInk Does Shade and Video for Much less Cash

E Ink’s Triton was a first-generation coloration e-paper know-how, but it surely by no means stood an opportunity of reaching Amazon’s Kindle. The Triton panel break the bank and suffered from a weak distinction ratio and gradual refresh charges. In different phrases, it did not look good and could not play video.

ClearInk, then again, shows coloration at round 4,096 colours (Excessive Shade). This implies it is much less vibrant in comparison with LCD and OLED panels. Nevertheless, its video refresh price of 33Hz (equal to broadcast tv or YouTube) permits full-motion video. This is an instance I shot at Show Week 2019:

The video and excessive readability of ClearInk comes right down to the kind of black pigment it makes use of. Each ClearInk and E Ink create photographs utilizing electrophoresis. Nevertheless, there is a huge distinction between the 2. E Ink makes use of two pigments. The extra overhead of coping with two pigments causes slower refresh speeds and uneven video.

ClearInk makes use of a single, smaller-sized pigment to create black and whites. The ink utilized in ClearInk, co-developed with Merck, is sharper and clearer than E Ink panels. Based on Sri Peruvemba, former Head of Advertising and marketing at ClearInk:

“E Ink makes use of a two particle system to generate black and white. To generate white, E Ink makes use of a white particle to mirror gentle. Whereas, CLEARink solely makes use of one particle—black—to generate [a] black state. To generate white, CLEARink makes use of a TIR (Whole Inside Reflection) movie on the entrance floor.”

The top consequence: greater distinction, decrease energy consumption, greater decision, and even coloration video, when mixed with a coloration layer.

ClearInk’s Energy Consumption Is Greater Than E Ink

Whereas ClearInk’s video variant consumes extra vitality than E Ink, its energy consumption relative to LCD is available in round 80 to 90 % much less. As well as, it could show movement video with a refresh price of round 33 Hz. A bit of uneven, however ok.

Issues With Ghosting, Shade Accuracy, and Waveforms

ClearInk is not an ideal know-how. It suffers from points with picture retention, or ghosting, the place parts of the show don’t refresh. You’ll be able to see a small quantity of ghosting within the image above. In 2019, ClearInk’s engineering crew defined that points with early prototypes brought about the show imperfections.

Moreover, ClearInk panels have the identical coloration accuracy as Kaleido Plus. It is ok for textbooks and comics however not sufficient for enterprise-class functions.

ghosting and artifacts on clearink display

And at last, like E Ink, ClearInk panels require particular software program and {hardware} to create and draw photographs on its display. In different phrases, the hardware-level infrastructure and software program strategies utilized in LCD know-how aren’t absolutely appropriate with ClearInk panels. ClearInk screens can’t simply be dropped into a pc with out writing particular software program.

Nevertheless, Peruvemba talked about that they’re engaged on drop-in panel options for LCD screens. That means in the event that they pull it off, producers may merely swap out an LCD for a ClearInk panel with none added prices.

6. Tianma’s Reflective Shade LCD

Tianma Micro-Electronics, one of many world’s largest show producers, introduced a reflective coloration LCD panel, recognized by its mission title as Electrical Bag (virtually definitely a mistranslation). Like most e-paper applied sciences, it would not require a backlight however is appropriate with the entrance lights utilized in most ereaders.

The panel is aimed on the instructional market. As such, it is available in a ten.5-inch kind issue, designed to learn coloration textbooks. In contrast to E Ink, reflective LCDs can show full coloration and video. However the trade-off is a restricted coloration vary and weak distinction ratio. For instance, Electrical Bag has a 12:1 distinction ratio and a PPI of 191. It could possibly additionally solely do 11% of the NTSC coloration vary, about half of its rivals. Nevertheless, the value is low, and they are often dropped into virtually any machine with little effort.

Tianma's Electronic Bag e-paper color display

An engineer at Tianma quoted a value just like an emissive LCD for a ten.5-inch panel. The academic market, which caters to youngsters, is a perfect product for decreasing eyestrain.

Tianma claimed that, if any producer had been , the Electrical Bag can be accessible in 2020. Sadly, as of 2022, it appears to have by no means made its method into any merchandise.

A Shade Kindle in 2023?

With out query, the colour E Ink know-how almost definitely to achieve Amazon’s ereaders is E Ink’s Gallery 4100. Whereas E Ink Kaleido Plus and Wuxi WeiFeng Know-how’s DES can show coloration, these colours are washed out and unsuitable for high-end units. As such, Gallery 4100 is the one know-how that appears to face an opportunity of creating its method into an Amazon e-reader.

Whereas Amazon hasn’t proven any curiosity in coloration e-paper because it dumped LiquaVista, coloration ereaders may increase Amazon’s attain to the profitable training market. Amazon has already tried to increase its attain to youngsters with its Kindle Hearth for Youngsters.

A backlight-free Kindle geared toward youngsters might quickly develop into a actuality. However till then, we’ll have to attend and see what new coloration e-reader tech hits the market.

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