Amazon might be working on a new device that combines some of the best features of an eReader and a tablet. The company has filed a patent application for a device with two screens: a color display on one side, and a low power E Ink display on the other.

Amazon dual screen patent

Tablets typically have full color displays with high refresh rates for playing games, watching videos, and other effects.

But while tablets like the Apple iPad can run for 10 hours on a charge, eReaders like the Amazon Kindle can run for up to 30 hours thanks to their lower power E Ink displays.

It doesn’t take any power at all to sustain text or pictures on an E Ink screen. The display only draws power when it’s refreshing the image, which pretty much only happens when you “turn” a page in a book.

By offering a device with both display types, Amazon could bridge the gap between its current Kindle and Kindle Fire devices — letting you buy one device and use it as an eReader some of the time, and a full-fledged Android tablet the rest of the time.

While Amazon is seeking a patent on this technology, it may not be the only company thinking along these lines. E Ink is showing off a dual-screen smartphone prototype at the IFA show in Berlin this week, suggesting that at least one phone makers plans to bring such a device to market.

Of course, that “phone maker” could be Amazon. There’s a rumor going around that the company is thinking about launching a smartphone. But it seems more likely that the drawings in the patent application depict a tablet/eReader.

via Engadget and Mashable

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4 replies on “Amazon could be preparing a dual screen, E Ink and LCD tablet”

  1. sounds like a really weird and over the top device. I hope they go for pixel qi type dual use screens instead. I’d also like a much thinner epaper screen with no battery, cpu or storage. Instead you’d plug it to a smartphone for power and content. That way I wouldn’t have any sync worries and I already carry the smartphone everywhere I go.

  2. Whatever happened to Pixel Qi and their (single) screen that was basically an e-ink and color LCD hybrid?

    1. What happened was it never took off because the technology is not good. It tries to function as both and doesn’t excel at either. Not that something like that wouldn’t be a good idea, but the technology doesn’t exist yet.

      Having two screens in one device isn’t the answer either unfortunately. What is needed is a display that accomplishes what the Pixel Qi set out to do, but with better technology.

      At least devices like these acknowledge the demand and attempt to supply the need for this technology, and hopefully spurn on further development.

      1. Well that’s not quite entirely accurate… Pixel Qi isn’t a perfect solution but neither is it “not good” either.

        It’s just screen technology advances about as quickly as battery technology, meaning it can take over a decade before much of any progress is seen.

        In large part because system makers care more about their bottom line than whether they are providing the consumer with the best screens or not.

        So any improvement in screen technology also has to improve profit otherwise it gets relegated to either limited premium product usage and/or niche markets.

        This has been the primary problem for Pixel Qi, who are also not a manufacturer and that means they need customers to make orders before they can then commission their manufacturer partners to then make those screens. But in turn that means their costs are higher and it takes a really long time to complete orders as they don’t start manufacturing until the orders are made.

        Pixel Qi though has been biding its time and improving their technology in the meantime. They can now offer a wider range of screen sizes and resolutions. Along with higher screen quality.

        So it’s too soon to write them off yet, they just have a way to go before they can go mainstream. Provided another emerging screen technology doesn’t beat them to it of course or they just improve existing LCDs to the point that they are energy efficient enough to ward off the competition.

        Development though never stops, it’s just a question of whether they can satisfy both the consumer and system makers concerns.

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