PocketBook has announced plans to release an 8 inch eReader with a front-lit color E Ink display. It has a 600 x 800 pixel screen that can display 4096 colors, and it’s due out in June, 2013.
Color E Ink displays work a lot like grayscale E Ink screens. The screen is illuminated from ambient light instead of a backlight, which saves power and helps eReader manufacturers to build devices with long battery life.
But color E Ink screens don’t typically look very good when compared with LCD, AMOLED, or other displays. Colors tend to be washed out and screen refresh rates are low.
It’s possible that by using side-lighting, much like the new NOOK with GlowLight or Kindle Paperwhite, PocketBook could literally cast a new light on color E Ink. With a bright light source nearby, it should be much easier to see the colors on the screen.
But with full color Android and iOS tablets offering 10 hours of more of battery life and selling for prices as low as $200, it’s kind of hard to see a future for color E Ink devices like the upcoming PocketBook color eReader.
I suppose if PocketBook can keep the price low enough, there might be some demand for a device with longer battery life than a traditional tablet. Personally I still prefer reading books on a black and white Kindle to reading them on a tablet — because I’m easily distracted by notifications of incoming email and chat messages.