Almost twenty years have passed since the first e-paper devices. Since then, actually somewhat on the sly, technology has improved steadily, even moving from black and white to colour. And now?
E Ink has just unveiled interesting details on its new color e-paper panels, Spectra 6: and the impression is that of an increasingly close showdown with "traditional" LCD screens.
Here we are with colors
Color e-paper has been around for a while, but early versions were limited in color gamut. For this reason they were mainly used for static images and billboards.
Advances now allow e-paper to have more and more colors: the new Kaleido 3 and Gallery 3 panels were now capable of showing respectively 4.096 and 50.000 different shades. The new Spectra 6 just presented will dethrone even these specifications.
So what holds back an invasion of e-paper? So far the refreshing: great images, but they take 10 to 20 seconds to update. This, however, does not make them useless, on the contrary: they will not be ready for e-readers yet, but they are ripe for another task.
Will e-papers revolutionize signage?
Static signage doesn't care how long it takes to update an image, because it doesn't happen often. For this, expect a farewell to old posters and posters (one of the last bastions that keep the still open printing houses afloat).
The e-paper street screens will show us large images of meters, with the quality of a screen and the opportunity to no longer waste paper for printing. Add the "attachments" to the professions that will no longer exist in 2040, indeed before.
Definitely a nice sight, waiting for the next progress to bring the e-paper into homes too, with screens that consume much less (even less tiring the eyes).