E Ink unveiled a new type of color ePaper display called “Print-Color” a few months ago, and now a couple of Chinese device makers are introducing eReaders using the new technology.

Like a Kindle, Nook, or other eBook readers with electronic ink displays, these new devices don’t require a backlight, are viewable in direct sunlight, and only consume power when the image on the screen is changed. But unlike a typical Kindle device, these new devices will be able to display up to 4,096 colors.

That could make them more attractive for things like digital magazines, comics, picture books, or textbooks.

But it’s probably best not to get too excited.

First, you won’t get as many colors from a Print-Color display as you would from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop screen. Second, the colors you do get will likely look duller/more muted. And third, you get the same kind of slow screen refresh rates with a color E ink display as you do from a grayscale version — videos, games, and other high-action applications are pretty much a non-starter.

With that in mind, a Chinese company named PalmRead reportedly plans to begin selling the iReader C6 with a 6 inch E Ink Print-Color display starting March 25th.

According to reports from websites including ShenzhenWare , Woosmart, and CnTechPost, the device has a quad-core processor, 16GB of storage, and battery life comparable to what you’d get from a device with similar specs if it had a black and white E Ink display.

Meanwhile, CnTechPost reports another company named iFlytek is said to be preparing its own eBook reader with a Print-Color display, 24 built-in lights to help you read in dim or dark environments, and built-in speakers.

The iReader and iFlytek devices wouldn’t be the first to feature color electronic paper displays. Ectacto’s Jetbook used an earlier color ePaper technology when it launched in 2012. And in 2018, Onyx showed off a 10.7 inch color E Ink tablet designed for classroom use.

But color eReaders aren’t exactly common — and it’s not clear that they will be anytime soon. There’s no reason to think, for example, that Amazon has any interest in making a next-gen Kindle with a color display. The company acquired color ePaper company Liquavista nearly seven years ago… and never did much with it. The company’s answer to color eReaders for most of the past decade has instead been its Fire tablet lineup.

via The eBook Reader

 

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  1. “First, you won’t get as many colors from a Print-Color display as you would from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop screen. Second, the colors you do get will likely look duller/more muted.”

    Actually, I just saw in January that Disney is employing multiple large color E Ink digital signage at their flagship Disney Store at Walt Disney World for prominently displaying retro movie posters behind the checkout area and was blown away! The colors actually look like actual ink on a printed page and are as vivid and colorful as quality printed illustrated printed books (think DK). I honestly thought I was looking at a printed poster until the display transitioned to another movie poster in the queue. Granted, this is state-of-the-art signage at a world-class amusement park, and this high-end signage is also only being used in limited circulation for upscale movie theaters, but the underlying technology is the same regardless for eReaders and will eventually trickle down. Like paper, you just need a well-lit environment to enjoy the vividness and color of the graphics and text flying off the pages. Such well-implemented color E Ink/ePaper will one day revolutionize the eBook reader industry.

  2. Winner. Hey, if price is right, im down. Knowing China, they will copycat each other until the price is right.

    1. The quality may be an issue.
      Even if the quality will be OK, the second question is software.
      Chinese companies are awful with software.
      Even if they adopt Android, they will, most likely, pack it with backdoors as big as a plane.
      They even don’t bother to ruin once-great trademarks, like TCL ruined Blackberry.

  3. I’ve been holding out on buying a new e-reader first: because my current one can do pretty much anything despite being ~5 years old (high-res, android based, front-lit), second: because I want my next one to be able to read comicbooks on, and I want some sort of color for it.

    1. Yep, color was the primary reason why I never really considered e-readers and opted for cheaper tablets.

      But this is amazing tech and would do great for the book industry. I would love to get one for comic books and manga as well, especially if it’s running Android.