E Ink’s Prism 3 color display technology isn’t designed for eBook readers or tablets. Instead it’s a low-power, programmable display solution that can be used for digital signage… or even for things like cars that can change color.

This year Lenovo plans to launch a laptop that lets you customize the colors and patterns on the lid thanks to an E Ink Prism 3 display panel. And at CES last week, smartphone maker Infinix showed off prototype smartphones that use Prism 3 technology to let users customize the colors and patterns on the backs of their phones.

Infinix calls this E-Color Shift Technology, and the company notes that it uses E Ink Prism 3 displays to put up to 60 customizable areas on the back of a phone, with support for up to 8 different colors.

This lets you, for example, change the back of a phone from blue to black or red. Or you can display different patterns on the phone.

Like all E Ink displays, Prism 3 screens only consume power when you’re changing from one image to another. So while it takes a very small amount of power to switch from one color or pattern to another, the graphics you select will be displayed indefinitely without consuming any additional power. Even if your battery dies, the back panel will continue to show the last image selected.

Infinix isn’t quite ready to bring E-Color Shift Tech to actual phones. According to Engadget, the company still needs to work out a few kinks “related to thermal performance and thickness,” but it’s possible that Infinix phones with Prism 3 displays could hit the market in a  year or two.

via E-Ink-Info

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  1. Interesting, but I wonder how they’re working out the durability of these things! E-paper surfaces are pretty fragile, at least for e-readers. I’ve broken my Kobo screen once by carrying it around without a case, and I’ve seen others damage their Kindles by putting too much pressure on them.

    Of course there’s newer flexible technology and stuff, so perhaps there’s some way to make sure these things keep working even when placed in a back-pocket, knocked around in a handbag, and whatever else we usually subject our phones to?

    I agree with the other comments: if we have an e-ink screen it should be used for more things that make it useful. Some more ideas in addition to notifications: changing the wallpaper based on time of day, a daily calendar, or maybe displaying pictures based on who’s calling? (We’d have to work out the privacy implications for that)

    Anyway, once the hardware’s in place, I’m guessing the software can catch up!

  2. If the addition of eink can only be used for theming the back, it seems the extra cost of parts would not be worth it… Now, if it could at least have some informational output like lock screen notices, it would start to seem useful.
    I have to expect a lot of people would set the back a few times till they like what they see, and never touch it again in regards to theming.

    1. Seriously! Why not use the colors to show numbers of missed notifications or something? Should change pretty infrequently.

  3. I don’t see the point of ever choosing a phone based on what the back of it looks like. It’s going straight into a case, and probably never leaving it.

    I have a transparent case on my iPhone, and I can barely tell what colour my iphone is through the dust and pocket lint that collects inside the case.

  4. I would pair an Infinix e-ink Smartphone with the Unitree Go2 robot dog, a robot dog that is somehow cheaper than owning a real dog considering vet bills, constant cleaning and food costs. I never thought one of these could ever be affordable.

  5. Neat.
    Although meaningless if you normally keep an opaque case on your phone anyway, or the phone ends up being so fragile you have to.
    I hope it’s not just for changing the appearance, since it would be pretty silly to make something like that and not allow it to display text or maps.
    Although if they want to comply with EU rules about removable batteries they’ll probably have to find some way to take the battery out of the top or bottom.