There are a number of companies working to bridge the divide between high contrast low power E Ink displays like those found on the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and other eBook devices and full color LCD displays which are power hungry but which have high refresh rates suitable for video playback.
We’ve seen solutions from Pixel Qi, Qualcomm, and Liquavista. Now there’s a new kid on the block: A display technology developed by the University of Cincinnati, Gamma Dynamics, Dupont, and Sun Chemical.
The new technique uses an electrofluidics design. I won’t even pretend to understand all the details, but the upshot is that the screens won’t need backlights to show full color images, which will dramatically reduce their energy requirements. They’ll have higher refresh rates than E Ink, allowing you to watch video. And they’ll feature brighter whites than competing products like the Qualcomm Mirasol display.
The promise is tablets, eBook readers, smartphones, and commercial displays which can show video while using a fraction of the energy that today’s LCD displays need — but you’ll be able to manufacture the new screens using the same equipment used in a traditional LCD factory which should help reduce production costs.
The new screens could start to arrive in about three years.