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Hanvon eReader with color E Ink dispaly  (Source: New York Times)
Major players wait for better tech

The traditional print publication business is in trouble with readers and advertising money moving to the internet where news is faster and ads are quantifiable. At the same time money and readers are leaving traditional publications, the costs to produce and deliver print publications are soaring. 

This fact has lead many in the traditional print media to eye the eReader as their savior. However, many in the industry felt that before that could happen the eReader tech needed to improve to the point where eReader screens were color rather than black and white only. That day is finally here. The 
New York Times reports that this week a company called Hanvon will be unveiling a new eReader that uses a color E Ink screen.

The screen is like traditional E Ink display in that it has no backlight and sips power. Other eReaders are on the market with color screens already, but those devices uses LCD screens. LCDs are used on the nook Color and on the iPad. There are some caveats, however, to the E Ink screen in color. For one, the screen is not as sharp or colorful as an LCD at this point. The colors on the E Ink screen are described as muted like looking at a faded photo according to the
NYT. Perhaps the biggest detriment to the color E Ink screen is that it still can’t handle video.

The ability to sip power and play video combining the best of LCD and E Ink tech is on the horizon though. Last week researchers showed off a breakthrough screen that has the power consumption of E Ink displays with the real-time video capability of an LCD. This isn’t the first time we have seen color tech similar to that of the new E Ink screen. Hitachi showed off color ePaper back in 2006, but the product never came to market.

The reason for the E Ink color tech to show up on a relatively unknown companies offering first is that major players like Amazon, Sony, and others are waiting for more vibrant color screens. Hanvon may be little known outside its native China, but the company has 78% of the Chinese eReader market. E Ink VP Sriram K. Peruvemba said, "I’m convinced that a lot of times it takes one company to prove the market."

The color screen eReader will sell for the equivalent of $440 in China when it launches this March. 





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