Foldable displays – they’re not just for smartphones and tablets. E Ink is showing off a new 10.3 inch foldable electronic paper display that could be used for eBook readers that you can fold in half like… you know, a book.

E Ink screens, which are used in Amazon Kindle devices and other eBook readers, are known for offering high contrast, good outdoor visibility, and low power consumption.

Since you don’t need a backlight to illuminate the screen, text and graphics are visible using just ambient light or an optional front-light that can make the screen look brighter and/or easier to view in dim lighting.

An image can also be displayed on an E Ink display indefinitely. The display only uses power when the content on the screen is changed.

One trade-off is that most E Ink displays are black and white, offering support for 16 shades of gray, but no other colors. Recently the company has started offering displays with support for up to 4096 colors, but color E Ink displays are rare, the colors look rather muted, and you typically have to sacrifice pixel density when you add color.

Anyway, the new flexible E Ink display appears to be a grayscale version that can fold and unfold like a book. E Ink showed the screen off in a demo device in Tokyo recently, but it’s unclear if or when you’ll be able to buy a gadget with a foldable E Ink display.

After all, this isn’t the first time the company has showed off this kind of technology — E Ink unveiled a 10.2 inch foldable display in 2017, but as far as I’m aware that no devices with that screen ever came to market.

via GizmoChina and Hic Tech (YouTube)

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  1. If you only read normal books, then sure. But I think the idea here is that it can accommodate other things, like comics/manga like Kangal mentions where a two page spread suffers from a separation in the centre and large format books/documents (like A4 sized PDFs). And the build seems sturdy with a good gap for the screen curve. So if development shows that the screen can survive (and there have been flexible eInk screens for a loooong time now)I say why not.

    Of course, that makes it a bit more niche potentially but that’s one of the advantages, one design which covers different use cases (I’m honestly not going to buy a reMarkable to read novels). So if you’re looking for something for novels, this works. If you’re looking for something for large documents it does too. Though if they do target documents they should include a wacom later or something for decent annotation (pen could be optional).

    Finally, I love the light design. I find with the current front lighting on ereaders it stops looking like “print” when you turn it on which loses some of the charm. This would avoid that.

    Also…anyone else have this trying where the video is low res even if you set it to 1080p?

  2. Honestly, just use two screens, which is more like what paper books do anyway. The novelty of this isn’t worth the worry over durability or the likely high cost. And for eink in particular a more surface duo style approach makes more sense than bending the actual display over and over and hoping it holds up.

    1. I think for regular books, you’re absolutely right.
      The best/only use case for this is Comics, where pictures vary in shape and size.