E-paper display now supports full video and color

December 19, 2011 by Dave Haynes

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We’re starting to see digital merchandising products come on the market that can last a full retail day on a lithium battery, and then get recharged overnight. The attraction and need is getting digital in places where power is not available or requires ugly power cord runs or drops.

So what if there were displays that could run for many days, even weeks, off a charge? They’re coming, though it will still be a while and there may be compromises.

Consider a new e-reader being demo’d in South Korea, which uses Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology. It’s a bit like electronic ink, but it supports color and 40 frames per second (movies are just 24 frames and TV is 30).

Engadget, via NetBook News, has a report up on the Kyobo reader, as well as a video. Both blogs note issues with color saturation (the lack of it), viewing angles and reflectiveness, but the potential is obviously there.

The technology is touted to provide as much as three weeks use off a single charge, with daily use. The display has no backlight and is said to mimic the natural light reflection of a butterfly’s wings to get its colors.

Getting people to reliably charge a display every night would be a challenge in a lot of retail environments, but a brand doing a product launch in store might be very interested in something that they could fire up and forget for a couple of weeks, and have serviced/charged by field marketing people. The color reproduction would have to be much better, though. Coke wants its exact red, not a medium pink.

As electricity costs continue to climb, ANYTHING that reduces energy consumption of a display network is also going to generate interest.


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