Friday 31 December 2010

Electronic paper has a bright future

The Chinese are set to overtake both the Kindle and Nook (and Sony's Reader) with a new reflected-light colour e-book reader, according to this article last month.

The screen changes more slowly than radiant light screens, and has a more limited range of colours, but I've been looking for something like this for quite a while. I can see three distinct advantages of the new development:

1. It isn't radiant light. I read a lot on my laptop, and come away feeling my eyes are bruised. So much nicer to browse my Kindle with a cup of tea (Luckwar, since you don't ask).

2. If it works like monochrome e-paper, it uses much less power when offline, only enough to change the screen when you want it to. This should mean much longer use time on battery.

3. It's readable in bright sunlight.

4. See (1) again. There must be tens of millions of keen readers like me and we're in danger of macular degeneration thanks to modern but not cutting-edge technology. What with the hearing impairment suffered by the younger generation on their maxed-out audio systems, soon the deaf will be leading the blind.

What this will do for the fortunes of E Ink and LG Display (both have recovered well from October 2009 lows), and what it's now doing for China's Hanwang/Hanvon companies, I don't know; but I can't wait for an e-ink colour reader to reach Britain's shores.

I must be very nice to my wife next year, and invest in a nice, stretchy stocking for the mantelpiece.

INVESTMENT DISCLOSURE: None. Still in cash, and missing all those day-trading opportunities.

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