Today, Barnes & Noble announced a new upgrade to the (pretty excellent) Nook Simple Touch ebook reader: illumination. The Simple Touch With GlowLight, as it'll be called, is in just about every way the same as the non-bright Simple Touch, except it has a little LED at the top of the screen so you can read it in the dark without an external light source.
The Kindle Touch is Amazon's top-of-the-line e-ink reader, a compromise between a tablet like the Kindle Fire (easy typing, faster navigation) and the e-ink, single-focus ebook reader named simply Kindle. But Amazon's relentless price slashing makes me wonder if there's a need for this in-between.
E Ink, the company that pioneered the electrophoretic displays used in gadgets like the Amazon Kindle, won't have a new fancy screen this year. But that doesn't mean they're taking it easy: They've got a host of projects, from color- and video-enabled displays to screens that can be printed on cloth and then crumpled.
The problem with most e-paper, as we've come to know it, is that it's not actually anything like paper. Most e-readers like the Amazon Kindle use a glass substrate embedded with complex circuitry to achieve the visual appearance of paper rather than the glow of a computer screen. But a new kind of e-paper under development at the University of Cincinnati could change all that by putting e-ink where it belongs: on e-paper that's actually made out of paper.
Good news for anyone out there straining to read this text: Pixel Qi plans to ship its 3Qi technology in an easy-to-install DIY kit sometime toward the end of the second quarter of this year.
Pixel Qi's dual-mode 3Qi displays function as both full-color LCD monitors and e-ink-like, low-power black and white displays, giving laptops and netbooks the ability to toggle between vibrant, video-playing LCD color and an energy-efficient, eye-strain-saving e-reader mode.
Mary Lou Jepsen has created massive holograms and cheap laptops for the developing world. Now she’s rethinking the LCD screen, leading the way to the next great gadget: an e-reader to replace your laptop
Mary Lou Jepson's hybrid computer screen blends the best aspects of both laptop and e-reader displays
John B. Carnett
For Mary Lou Jepsen, getting an MRI is not unlike getting a massage—a relaxing ritual, a rare slice of time when no work can possibly be done. I'm accompanying Jepsen to her doctor's appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital because it's the only few hours she can fit me in. She's in Boston for three days, in between trips to her Sausalito, California, houseboat and her apartment in Taipei, Taiwan, and she's booked back-to-back with appointments. Yesterday she had a meeting with the team at One Laptop Per Child, the nonprofit she helped create and with which she still collaborates on new computer designs. Today she's talking with her doctor about the medicine she needs to take to stay alive, after a tumor nearly killed her 10 years ago. Tomorrow she will appear at the Boston Book Festival in a debate about the future of reading, along with top executives from Sony and Google.
While Jepsen gets her brain scanned, I sit in the waiting room and guard the tote bag that contains the reason her life is so frenzied: a 10-inch slab of glass that, she says, merges the best of computers and e-readers into a single screen.
We're still a week away from Barnes & Noble's big e-reader announcement, but we've know they've had something cooking for a while now. And today, our pals at Gizmodo hit the mother load: leaked shots of a forthcoming dual-screen device that is three-quarters e-ink and one-quarter (wait for it) color multitouch.
Rotation of microspheres in a vertically changing external magnetic field. The color is switched between on (blue) and off states. Video courtesy Yin lab, UC Riverside
In the future, signs will be instantly rewritable and walls will change color at the flip of a switch. A research team at the University of California at Riverside has created a new magnetically activated, instantly and reversibly color-changing material with potentially groundbreaking applications. The technology is based on that used by colorful birds, beetles, and butterflies: instead of static pigments, the material employs "structural color," which depends on the interference effects of light.
E-ink displays are already common in devices like the Kindle, but HP has taken the tech a step further with thin, printable color displays called eSkins. Printed in massive rolls, eSkins can then be cut and used as a thin coating on, say, your laptop's lid, turning the surface into an active, color display.