Color screen for Kindle? It may be closer than you think

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E Ink, the maker of the display for the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, has been bought by a Taiwanese company for $215 million.

Ho hum. "So what?" you say?

Well here's why it's cool. The Taiwanese company, Prime View, is the E Ink parthner that actually makes these displays for Amazon and Sony and this deal is supposed to speed up the development of color displays on these type devices, according to the Associated Press:

The deal will help the combined company develop color versions of its displays and mass produce them by the end of 2010, said Sriram Peruvemba, E Ink's vice president of marketing. Current models show shades of gray.

Privately held E Ink is expected to demonstrate its latest color display prototypes Tuesday at SID Display Week 2009 in San Antonio.

Why no color on Kindles and other readers yet? Amazon, at least, says it's not happy with the quality on current prototypes.

So now Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, is that much closer to his goal of Kindle color.

E Ink's displays are used in e-book readers because they look similar to regular paper and consume very little power. However, they take a relatively long time to switch between images, making navigation slow.

E Ink makes the top layer of the electronic ink displays, then ships them to Prime View, which adds a bottom layer that's similar to those used in LCD panels. Prime View bought the electronic ink technology of Royal Philips Electronics NV in 2005. E Ink, which was spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it had raised more than $150 million from investors, including Intel Corp., Motorola Corp. and Hearst Corp. E Ink had first-quarter revenue of $18 million. It has not revealed whether it is profitable.

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    This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on June 1, 2009 9:32 AM.

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