Companies have been releasing eBook readers with E Ink digital paper displays for nearly two decades. And for most of that time they’ve shipped with black and white displays limited to showing up to 16 shades of gray.

Last year the first devices with E Ink Kaleido color displays began shipping, bringing support for up to 4096 colors. And this year we’re already seeing products like the PocketBook InkPad Color and Onyx BOOX Nova3 Color with second-gen “Kaleido Plus” displays.

So what makes the new screens better?

PocketBook InkPad Color
PocketBook InkPad Color

Like the original Kaleido displays, the new screens use a color filter array that’s overlaid on top of a grayscale screen allowing readers to view content with up to 4096 colors at 100 pixels per inch or black and white content at 300 pixels per inch.

But E Ink says the Kaleido Plus displays:

  • Offer brighter colors thanks to a new printing pattern brings the color filter closer to the ink layer
  • 3X the color gamut thanks to improved front light illumination which scatters light less to offer better color saturation
  • Updated image algorithms for “crisper text”

So while there are no actual changes to the display resolution or color reproduction, it seems like changes to the way the screen is put together and to the front lights used with it should make the new screens a little more pleasant to use.

Onyx BOOX Nova3 Color
Onyx BOOX Nova3 Color

The company also notes that while most devices with first-gen Kaleido displays had 6 inch or smaller screens, the new Kaleido Plus displays are being used in 6 inch and 7.8 inch eReaders, although those don’t seem to be hard limits – E Ink says the Kaleido Plus display technology can “extend to other sizes for different applications.”

Sony, for example, has already begun showing off a device with 10.3 inch E Ink color display… although it’s unclear if what Sony calls “Kaleido 2.5” is the same thing E Ink calls Kaleido Plus.

press release

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