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Old 11-12-2010, 09:19 PM   #106
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But even in this early stage of development it's still much better than an iPad for outside reading.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:39 PM   #107
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But even in this early stage of development it's still much better than an iPad for outside reading.
Out of curiosity, how much outside reading do you actually do? I can read outdoors on my device, but generally don't. If I'm out, I'm likely in transit, and watching where I'm going takes precedence.
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:51 AM   #108
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Yep. It's an image embedded in and extracted from an eInk product PDF. I wasn't sure how representative it really was, but it was the best actual product shot I've been able to find.

That said, I have to believe it's in the ballpark, as I can't see eInk releasing a shot that didn't present their product in the best possible light, so to speak. (I saw the shot taken outdoors against a grassy field as an attempt to show of what it looked like read out of doors in sunlight, to prove it could be, and to show off the color values relative to "natural" colors.)

And if it's in the ballpark, my unimpressed comments stand. This might do for some material. It won't do for me, and I frankly doubt it will look so much better in person than it does in the product shot to change that opinion.


The applicable question is how much content is out there for which color eInk would be adequate. The stuff I want to view includes things like art and photography, where it wouldn't be. RHEL 6 manuals might be an exception. I have stuff like that, but I convert it from HTML and view it on a device with an LCD screen and 16bit color.
Well, stated Dennis....those sort of needs are pretty much the same as mine. I can see the current version potentially adequate for basic graphics such as call-out boxes and, graphs, charges or to differential parts of text or equations, program code or similar from previous examples.

Most of us remember the old CGI era of graphics and while it seemed like a quantum leap for a home computer, at the same time we well knew it was not even close to what was needed in the end. Basically it was a nice way to create charts in 1-2-3 spreadsheets.

I see this color gamut as about the same level, granted more color depth but still it's far from be able to handle today's needs graphics wise. Of course on solution would be similar to how many printers handle things with 8, 10, 12 or more ink tanks to increase the ability to generate more shades of a given color.

Also as you mention pure white is a MUST to create bright realistic colors and that just has never been present in e-ink's way of doing things. I sense it's is the wall of limitation that e-ink cannot overcome until they create a totally different display tech.

For people just reading this I would offer this example. Your color printer will generate it's best colors on the whitest paper you can find. And that is because using the inks in the printer there is not only no way to create true white, there is also no white tank.

If e-ink can ever overcome this one obstacle they just might have a chance in the longer term but if not they will be relegated to the niche of reading novels and similar books.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:08 AM   #109
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It's not just the fact that the image is a photograph of the real thing taken in less than perfect conditions, you are also looking at re-sized, most probably 72dpi, compressed jpg image. There is no way to evaluate the true quality of the display or colours it produces from that picture.

For example I just downloaded RHEL 6 manuals in epub format and they contain colours and colour images and having them shown in colours on my reader would be perfect, even if only in 256.
Do you realize that has nothing to do with anything more than image detail rather than color depth. Old CRT TV's had what would be called pathetic resolution typically around 320x200 lines no matter what size the TV...but they were able to display wonderful full color images. Why? because they could display the entire color gamut. Pixel/dot density has nothing to do with the ability to show wonderfully colorful images. But those displays were also analog not digital. It was not until the digital era when PPI became an issue, DPI on a LCD is pretty much a meaningless number, in fact one can set a JPG to 20 DPI and you won't be able to tell it apart from a 1200 DPI image in a video display. Printed versions will use DPI though. It's the pixel density that affects IQ on a display these days. DPI is a buzzword used by marketing simply because the consumer had seen the acronym in reference to their printers.

Another misconception is the whole megapixel wars with digital cameras...the number of megapixels has NOTHING to do with IQ and the ability of the image to reveal detail, only has an affect when printing larger sized images. And even then there are ways around that as well because all the needed information lives inside the JPG and of course the RAW file already.

Still as you say, even just having 256 colors will do for a large number of books. I tell people to think of simply poster-type/line-art graphics rather than photographic grade output. Even comic books would do pretty well with just 256 colors for the most part.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:35 AM   #110
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Which would be a problem for someone whose vision demands better contrast (like me).

I haven't had a chance to play with e-ink devices in person, which I'd really consider necessary to any informed opinion (photos on a monitor involve enough different devices that I don't think they're completely accurate). Thus, I don't know what I think of e-ink in general. I do know that color is something a large percentage of the market would want, especially if textbooks are to shift to e-book format (many textbooks I've seen had color illustrations that needed to be color), among other market segments.
From what they say, it should be like reading a newspaper. They also point out that you would see better under brighter light. LCD will always have the advantage in situations where there is little or no light, but there are people who can't read on an LCD screen.

This technology will present an advantage to those who need some color, and not perfect color. The human eye can only distinguish 32 levels of gray, but it can distinguish between millions of colors. So while it’s not really worth it to make B&W screens with more than 16 levels of gray, they can do more work on them to get more colors.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:40 AM   #111
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Do you realize that has nothing to do with anything more than image detail rather than color depth.
True, but all things I mentioned do affect the image quality (including DPI, if you have 360 dots per inch, you may have 360 differently coloured per inch, reduce that to 72DPI and you can only have 72 differently coloured dots per inch) (do some basic image manipulation, resizing, changing DPI etc and check the results yourself) and you do know that JPEG is a lossy compression method, don't you?

In addition to that, we have no way to know how much/ little the image was manipulated before it was used therefore making conclusions about the real display quality is not reliable.

I don't know whether they ever manage to produce 24-bit colour depth to allow true colour reproduction so the devices may never be able to cater to everyone, but neither can newspapers. If your mainly read photographic books etc, then you would need a different device, but then again, so they do in print (paper used vs "regular books" for example).

Last edited by pete_1967; 11-13-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:40 PM   #112
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I don't know whether they ever manage to produce 24-bit colour depth to allow true colour reproduction so the devices may never be able to cater to everyone, but neither can newspapers. If your mainly read photographic books etc, then you would need a different device, but then again, so they do in print (paper used vs "regular books" for example).
I don't see eInk achieving 24 bit color, without adopting some new display technology that wouldn't be eInk.

As for newspapers, they've been improving. In the old days, newspapers were printed by letterpress, as it was the technology that could handle the volume required. Occasionally, a newspaper would attempt color on the front page for a special occasion, but the results were normally a travesty - they couldn't maintain registration between color passes, and the results were mud. These days, I believe most newspapers use offset presses, where color is a lot easier to manage. The limitation will be the resolution of the image. Newsprint paper is porous, so you aren't likely to do better than 72 DPI - try to go finer and the ink spreads and dots supposed to be separate merge.

In books (and for that matter, magazines,) if you use color, you are probably using a coated stock with a glossy finish. You can print color on any paper, but coated stocks give best results.
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:13 PM   #113
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If e-ink can ever overcome this one obstacle they just might have a chance in the longer term but if not they will be relegated to the niche of reading novels and similar books.
That's where they are now. eInk is niche market technology, and will remain niche market technology.

The advantages it brings to the table are the ability to read it outdoors, the vastly lower power consumption, resulting in improved battery life, and the fact that a fair number of users find eInk screens a lot easier to read than LCD displays.

What it lacks is true color support and screen refresh fast enough to handle moving images.

A friend who is a content producer recently got an iPad, and professed himself pleased with it. He calls it "a media consumption device", which I think is an apt descriptor. And it's a multimedia device. The content may be text, audio, still pictures, animation, video, or a combination of them. side from reading ebooks, the user is likely to be doing things surfing the web, listening to music, or watching YouTube.

Depending on the device, a dedicated eInk based reader will certainly display text, and may be able to surf the web and play audio. Animation and video simply won't be possible. The screen can't update fast enough.

iPads and similar products and dedicated readers share the fundamental characteristic of being portable. They are small/light enough you can largely carry them wherever you go and use them wherever you happen to be. The question will be what you want to use them for.

I think my rule of thumb for which you might want to get is "Do you plan to watch YouTube to any extent?" If the answer is yes, you get an iPad or similar product. If the answer is no, a dedicated eInk reader might do for you.

But I don't see most folks getting (and carrying around) both types of devices. So the unanswered question is "Will multimedia devices like the iPad cannibalize the market for dedicated readers", and leave the niche that prefers an eInk display too small to profitably address.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:09 PM   #114
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a fair number of users find eInk screens a lot easier to read than LCD displays.
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A fair number? Does anyone find LCD screens easier to look at than eInk?
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:21 PM   #115
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A fair number? Does anyone find LCD screens easier to look at than eInk?
There are people who want to read in the dark.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:04 PM   #116
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a fair number of users find eInk screens a lot easier to read than LCD displays
A fair number? Does anyone find LCD screens easier to look at than eInk?
Me.

It may be more accurate to say I find ease of reading equivalent. I spend 12 to 16 hours a day in front of an LCD screen hooked up to a computer. I also spend a fair number of hours looking at the LCD display of the handheld device that it my usual ebook reader. I have no problems doing so.

I've spent time examining dedicated readers using eInk. They offer several advantages over LCD that aren't advantages for me:

You can read eInk displays outdoors.
So you can. But I can do that with my LCD based device. For practical purposes, I don't. If I'm outdoors, I'm probably in transit. Reading is a mostly indoor activity.

eInk uses far less power to maintain the dislay, and you may be able to go for weeks between battery charges
So it does, and so you can. But I have an assortment of devices like my cell phone and notebook that require more frequent charging, and my usual reading device is simply one more on the list. It gets charged nightly, and when I travel, a charger for it travels with me. So I don't care about longer battery life on an eInk device, because I don't find keeping things charged an imposition.

eInk is easier to read than LCD
It is for many people. It's not for me.

It's what eInk doesn't do that kills it for me. The biggest issue is color support. Too much of what I want to view on my device requires colot, and the color offered by the new color eink announcement isn't adequate. The second factor is screen refresh speed. Some of what I view is animation or video. eInk can't support that. The screen refresh would work out to a slide show of still pictures if it worked at all, and not smooth motion.

If eInk works for you, I'm delighted, and happy reading. But it doesn't work for everybody, and no individual using a device to read ebooks, eInk or LCD, should assume they are representative of the market.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #117
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Me.

It may be more accurate to say I find ease of reading equivalent.

If eInk works for you, I'm delighted, and happy reading. But it doesn't work for everybody, and no individual using a device to read ebooks, eInk or LCD, should assume they are representative of the market.
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I'm well aware of the advantages of LCD over eInk. But, if you are being sincere (no offense), then you are one of very few whose brain is wired in such a way that staring into a light for hours is just as comfortable as not.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:05 PM   #118
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I'm well aware of the advantages of LCD over eInk. But, if you are being sincere (no offense), then you are one of very few whose brain is wired in such a way that staring into a light for hours is just as comfortable as not.
I am being sincere, and I'm not offended. But I don't think I'm one of "very few".

eInk got a jump start in ereaders because it was the technology used by the major players like Amazon and Sony. People were buying dedicated ebook reading devices that happened to use an eInk screen, with the advertised advantages of "looking like a book" and "long battery life". How many of those folks might be just as comfortable reading on an LCD display?

Barnes and Noble thinks many will, witness the color nook. And things like the Kindle and B&N app for smartphones and other devices have been highly popular, indicating that a lot of folks will happily read on their smartphone or tablet, and a fair number of them already have an eInk device, but want the option to read ebooks when they don't happen to be carrying their reader.

I have no real numbers on which kind of display is used to read ebooks by whom. But I very much doubt eInk displays constitute any sort of overwhelming majority. If we count in all displays used for the purpose, including multifunction devices that can display ebooks among other things, like smartphones, I'm not sure eInk is in the majority at all.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:25 PM   #119
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eink is already capable of displaying animations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFvsAZ-oQlY&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co8VmN6PoRo&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L8WT7QqrdE&NR=1

this is 2 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n2xxqMQyfY
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:50 PM   #120
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Out of curiosity, how much outside reading do you actually do? I can read outdoors on my device, but generally don't. If I'm out, I'm likely in transit, and watching where I'm going takes precedence.
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FWIW, you don't have to be reading "outside" to enjoy the benefits of eInk. My home has a lot of windows and I like to having the sun streaming in whenever possible. I really don't like having to draw the curtains in order to read, which I've had to do with my laptop, since I'm without my Sony at present.
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