Color E Ink devices are starting to arrive, bringing many of the benefits of ePaper displays to eReaders that can display color graphics for digital magazines, comics, books, and other apps.

But they tend to have a limited color palette, slow screen refresh rate, and reduced pixel density when displaying color.

TCL has an alternate solution that the company says will be available soon. The new TCL NXTPAPER technology is a low-power, reflective display technology that works without a backlight, but which displays color graphics at refresh rates high enough for video or other animations.

TCL NXTPAPER

According to TCL, its new displays are 65-percent more power efficient than a typical LCD, and also up to 36-percent thinner.

That means you get longer battery life in a more compact device. The company says NXTPAPER displays also offer 25-percent higher contrast than a typical LCD. And the displays are said to offer a “zero eye strain” experience with “no flicker and no harmful blue light.”

But if a brief demo during TCL’s IFA 2020 press event is anything to go by, there may be some downsides when compared with both LCD and E Ink displays. Like color E Ink, the NXTPAPER displays colors look muted and dull when viewed using only ambient light. And like LCD displays, the screen seems to turn off periodically, suggesting that NXTPAPER lacks E Ink’s ability to display a static image indefinitely.

Still, it’s interesting to see some competition in the low-power, sunlight readable display space. TCL says it’s targeting educational applications initially since the display could work well for reading children’s books and other content with color graphics.

TCL says the first commercial product with a NXTPAPER display is coming “soon.”

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3 Comments

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  1. Reminds me a bit of PixelQi. It should work great when used outside. But inside it might be barely readable.

  2. It looks like they took an LCD and just put a reflective film behind it.
    It’s probably more sophisticated than a gameboy color but…
    sigh
    …but maybe I’m just an old fool who can’t see the obvious superiority of TCL’s innovation.