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Old 12-12-2009, 04:39 AM   #1
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The Economist on the future of e-reader displays

Interesting stuff on where e-reader display technology is/might be going

http://www.economist.com/sciencetech...ry_id=15048695

<hoping this isn't behind the paywall>
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:26 AM   #2
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Sad.

Lots of the usual irrelevant guff about colour and video (yes, I know, shiny fluff sells), nothing about improving the borderline resolution that we have currently.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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or about it being a good or bad purchase which I thought the Economist was all about... advice for the thouroughly stuffy and overly wealthy
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:51 AM   #4
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How about fixing the annoying lag and flash that all e-readers have. I finally managed to get my hands on a Sony ereader the other day and yep, I didn't like it. Not near as nice as my Jetbook LCD screen
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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that doesn't seem to be an issue with the Kindle
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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This is the best summary of the competing screen technologies that might make it into mainstream Readers I have seen. Most of this stuff is 1-2 years out at least and don't forget (as the article says):
Quote:
Now for a reality check: in the history of ingenious display technologies, only a handful have ever made it into mass production.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kindlekitten View Post
or about it being a good or bad purchase which I thought the Economist was all about... advice for the thouroughly stuffy and overly wealthy
Not sure where that comes from: it's not a financial advice or consumer buying magazine; it's a news and current affairs magazine that runs regular technology surveys. The surveys focus on tech trends and ideas, not on product reviews and advice.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:33 AM   #8
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I think a large part of the Economist's readership are more worried about whether the stock is a good or bad purchase .
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #9
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I do wonder a lot about these technologies. Mirasol may well be put into use in 2010 as they plan, but their literature tends to offer varying numbers for contrast/reflectance. They seem to boast 60% reflectance and 15:1 contrast in one place, then change that to 50% and 8:1 in other places.

Liquavista also claims to have improved contrast and brightness a bit over EPDs like Vizplex, though they don't really offer much current information about the state of the tech, and their site and videos are a bit lacking. On the other hand, there was a really interesting picture shown here. I wish they had a larger, higher quality picture, but even the small one shows quite an advantage next to e-ink (mostly in black state, but even white is about 10% better in the pic), even if it continues to fall noticeably short of paper.

Pixel Qi is going to be interesting and I will probably opt for some kind of device with it as long as the device is useful, but for a dedicated reader, it does not seem to resolve my primary problem with current EPD: Poor white-state reflectance and contrast. It does, however, resolve the speed issue, which is great. Since full operating systems now allow some control over the text anti-aliasing methods, it's possible that fonts can be tweaked to display better on Pixel Qi than on standard EPD-bearing hardware. That's one of the big questions I have about Pixel Qi's readability, and I look forward to trying it out in the future.

Yes it's certainly possible that these techs won't make it far, or will only see commercial products in a few years, but some of these techs already have fabs running and are nearly, if not already, prepared for production.

Of course, E-Ink and other EPDs could keep their hold on the market, and I just hope that if they do, they'll take care of their problems...brighter whites, much blacker blacks, higher resolutions, and quicker refreshes (even if not video speeds)
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
I think a large part of the Economist's readership are more worried about whether the stock is a good or bad purchase .
I'm a long-time subscriber to The Economist and I must be missing something: I have yet to read/see an article that gives me advice about a stock. What I do read/see are articles that discuss current events and news in depth, something that magazines like Time and Newsweek did in the 1960s, but no longer do. I'm not sure where people get the idea that The Economist is a financial magazine unless it is from its name.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:54 AM   #11
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let's hope high quality color ebooks are around the corner. 2011? mirasol looks promising.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
I'm a long-time subscriber to The Economist and I must be missing something: I have yet to read/see an article that gives me advice about a stock. What I do read/see are articles that discuss current events and news in depth, something that magazines like Time and Newsweek did in the 1960s, but no longer do. I'm not sure where people get the idea that The Economist is a financial magazine unless it is from its name.
I have to agree...that was an article from the "before time" when news pieces were not dumbed down for the "soundbite" sorts that we have today. It reminded not so much of the old Newsweek or Time, I just did not read them much, but of the old Byte Magazine where the tech articles really explained what was what, going to great lengths to NOT be biased.

I took away a lot of information from the article and sense it was a nice impartial presentation of the state of the display panel world today. Also there was a glimpse as to what might be just around the corner.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:19 PM   #13
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LCDs also have a long way to go don't forget. They are trying to develop smaller crystals, tighter resolutions. Apparently when you view a super high resolution and a high refresh rate on a device, that eye strain problem doesn't occur. Also eventually there becomes a point when the resolution is high enough that it begins to feel like reading from a plain piece of paper.

When they reach that state they will be supurb for reading from. LCD will clearly be the victor because e-ink doesn't play videos, computer games, do color screen internet, 1080p movie playback. LCD will. Because of that the market will overwhelmingly buy an LCD device and also use that for e-books. Only the hardcore reading niche will stick with e-ink once those super high res screens come out.
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