E Ink’s latest color displays have me dreaming of electronic paper magazines • TechCrunch

There’s nonetheless nothing fairly like thumbing the pages of a real-life print journal, however the newest evolution of E Ink’s shade tech is creeping tantalizingly shut — at the very least so far as my eyes are involved.

You’ve heard all of it earlier than: A lifetime of gazing screens has worn out my eyes, main me down a rabbit gap of lifehacky options to ease the fatigue. Among the methods I picked up over time have helped — particularly the one the place I merely take breaks and go for walks — however one factor hasn’t modified: I nonetheless spend extra time than I’d like gazing at shiny shows.

I don’t need something much less for movies or gaming, however for studying I sometimes ignore the newest tech and as a substitute flip to a 2016 Kindle Oasis or old school books. My fingers can clearly inform the distinction between the 2, however after I’m misplaced in a narrative, I don’t assume my eyes can. With paper and e-paper alike, a way of ease washes over me as I learn. Is it how the sunshine bounces off the web page? Or, is it as a result of I do know adverts and notifications gained’t bombard me at each flip? I’m unsure, and I don’t actually care why; I simply want it, and E Ink jogged my memory of that after I stepped into its little convention room final week in Las Vegas.

E Ink posted up at the Venetian for CES 2023, and inside its makeshift showroom, the MIT spinoff crammed its newest tech, together with items of its wacky BMW wrap and its newest Gallery 3 shade shows. The latter tech is now trickling into the market, beginning with units just like the PocketBook Viva. And let me let you know, these shows look outright vivid subsequent to the washed-out hues in E Ink’s Kaleido shade shows, which debuted simply two years in the past. Gallery 3’s CMYK shows can spit out 50,000 colours at 300 DPI — means, means up from Kaleido’s 4,000 colours, the corporate stated.

A prototype with E Ink's Gallery 3 display tech.

A prototype with E Ink’s Gallery 3 show tech. Picture Credit: Harri Weber for TechCrunch

“We aren’t ever going to be the most effective movie-showing display,” U.S. enterprise lead Timothy O’Malley acknowledged the plain in an interview with TechCrunch. However E Ink’s objectives are nonetheless stretching effectively into iPad territory. Ultimately, E Ink goals to construct {a magazine} studying expertise that’s ok to win over even probably the most demanding publishers, O’Malley informed TechCrunch.

“Style magazines particularly actually have strict requirements on shade [and] that’s a terrific purpose for us,” the 22-year firm veteran stated. “I do imagine we are going to get there and the tech essentially helps it.”

O’Malley added, “We’ll work on the fabric response and the controls, and we are going to get the saturation as much as that.” Reaching that bar might win over comics followers and picturebook readers, too.

For now, E Ink’s Gallery shade tech is at its greatest when it’s utilized in signage, the place the corporate can sacrifice refresh velocity for readability. However in handheld readers, the place you don’t wish to wait ages for the following web page to show, the colours are nonetheless trying muted subsequent to a retina display. As I swiped on a Gallery 3 prototype, massive photographs lagged and flashed clumsily. However when the identical prototype displayed small shade illustrations alongside black-on-white textual content, the tech truly appeared prepared for the lots. 

A prototype with E Ink's Gallery 3 display tech.

The identical prototype with E Ink’s Gallery 3 show. Picture Credit: Harri Weber for TechCrunch

E Ink’s in-house Gallery 3 stats illustrate the present trade-off. The corporate stated in December that its black-and-white replace time is now at 350 milliseconds, whereas its shade speeds vary from 500 ms (which E Ink calls “quick shade mode”) to 1500 ms (for “greatest shade”). E Ink lets producers determine how they’ll steadiness velocity and readability, so your proverbial mileage might fluctuate.

Manufacturers like PocketBook, Bigme and BOOX already appear to be embracing Gallery 3, but there’s nonetheless no phrase if Amazon is prepared to throw its appreciable weight behind shade e-readers. Amazon might assist legitimize the tech, however crucially, the retail big just lately bailed on journal and newspaper subscriptions for its black-and-white Kindles, amid broad value cuts. 

After I requested O’Malley what the holdup is likely to be for a full-color Kindle, the manager speedily deflected. “It’s a two step dance — we now have our half, and every buyer has their very own half,” he stated.

A Kindle rep rapidly declined to remark after I requested an identical query over e mail, however hey, a woman can dream.

Read more about CES 2023 on TechCrunch

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