Delta Electronics Planning Ship Color And Monochrome E-Readers This Year

A sample of the Bridgestone display

A sample of the Bridgestone display

It seems like the Apple iPad announcement has really shaken things up in the tech industry because we are suddenly hearing a lot of new announcements from companies we had almost forgotten about or did not know existed. The latest is Delta Electronics and their 13.1 inch e-reader that will carry a color e-paper display. This display has been developed by Bridgestone and it will hopefully have better refresh rate than the eInk technology that is found on the Kindle. While the e-reader itself may not be very interesting, the display does interest a lot of people because this is what future eBook readers might start using.

Other than the colored, larger version, Delta Electronics also plans to bring forth another e-reader model that will have a monochrome display measuring 8.1 inch. This too will use the same e-paper display technology as the larger, colored version. Both devices are expected to have touchscreen UI’s, since that is the latest thing to add to e-readers.

The date chosen by Delta Electronics has not been the best one though. They chose to announce it the same day when Apple released their iPad. As a result, it simply got buried under a lot of Apple coverage. The color eBook model was actually briefly shown off last year and it did garner some interest at that time.

At this moment, details about the UI are uncertain and hence there is a lot of room to speculate about how it will compete with Kindles and the Nook. Of course, that is only if it plans to compete at all. This could end up being just another boring e-reader that just has a different screen. But if it manages to to do video somehow that might shake things up quite a bit. But even then, it has to have a content store of some kind to compete with the Kindle, Nook or the iPad even. Current estimated shipping date is sometime in Q2 2010, same as the Asus Dr-950 e-reader.

Mirasol Hands On Impresses

Qualcomm's Mirasol Demo device at CES 2010, click for video [credit: Clayton morris]The eInk display technology (the same one that is used on Kindle screens) has a new rival. Far more than LG’s micro foil technology that is used by Hearst, Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology is threatening to overtake eInk by the end of this year. Mirasol, as we reported earlier, is a new display technology that is being developed by a team of researchers under the banner of Qualcomm — their primary sponsor. The main advantage of this technology is that it has the capability of producing RGB pixels. That means full color displays. And it doesn’t stop there either.

Mirasol can also display video and decent frame rates and according to those who saw the demo at CES 2010 — it is a very promising new technology. Because even though the screen is doing full color video, the developers claim that it has a 6x battery advantage over eInk under average eInk usage. The overlaying of a capacitive touchscreen allows the screen to become touch enabled but reduces the display’s sharpness slightly. Still, it is supposed to be capable enough to take over the eInk displays. To give you an estimate – if your eInk display device lasts one full day on a single charge, the same device will last for 6 days on the same single charge and battery if it uses a Mirasol display. Of course, this is all theoretically speaking but the real world value is still likely to be quite high.

Mirasol can easily be read under direct sunlight like the eInk screens and it can also be evenly backlit for dark situations – something that the eInk screens are not equipped for. Mirasol is likely to hit by the end of 2010 and the first screens will be around 5.7 in size — enough for medium sized eBook readers and may be even tablet devices. Watch the video for a look at what it looks like.