E Ink, the folks that make the black and white screen that looks like paper used in Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, have developed a color screen. If Amazon make a color Kindle, you can count me in.
I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon's Kindle. I like the form factor, and the price is now much more reasonable than it was when the device was released. I also like the quality of the display - it truly looks like an image printed on paper. The battery life is also awesome. On the down side though, I don't like the screen flicker when changing pages, and I find the Kindle UI to be slow, clunky and tedious. I also feel that the Kindle could do more than it currently does, because right now it's a one-trick pony.
Note: The screen looks so much like paper that I thought that the screensaver image that was displayed when the Kindle was powered down was a sticker that needed peeling off when I first saw it!
But news that E Ink has developed a color screen interests me greatly.
E Ink screens have two advantages over LCD — they use far less battery power and they are readable in the glare of direct sunlight.
However, the new color E Ink display, while an important technological breakthrough, is not as sharp and colorful as LCD. Unlike an LCD screen, the colors are muted, as if one were looking at a faded color photograph. In addition, E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations.
Who cares if it can't handle video. Books can't handle video, but they can handle color images. They have been able to for a long time now. The Kindle's black and white screen looks positively archaic next to devices such as the iPad. Sure, the Kindle screen is good in bright light, but that's a single specific case. In almost every other scenario, the iPad screen beats E Ink. Adding color to the E Ink spec lists keeps it relevant.
Official word from Amazon is that it will offer color when it's ready, which to me sounds like a cryptic way of saying "we're working on it."
I hope so, because I want a color Kindle!