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back to article Silly Rabbit! Like Trix, color e-readers are for kids

If you're expecting rich, vibrant colors on your next ebook reader, you're going to be disappointed – the laws of physics are against you. "Somebody like the National Geographic is still not going to be happy with our product," Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink, the company that creates the e-paper displays for …

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Flame

Wot a damn crapy bullshit excuse!

I'm fed up with crappy, tiny-gamut, wishy-washy, low contrast displays--and I know there's much better around--newer AMOLED technologies for instance.

I'm not a great ebook fan as I still prefer the power of my laptop so I've been searching for ages for a laptop with say a decent AMOLED display but essentially there's none about. Why? Well press reports say it's basically a marketing issue more than a technical one.

Damn them, something's obviously wrong with competition in the display dept. Too many cartels, or oligopolistic trading perhaps?

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Devil

@GW -- P.S.

"Somebody like the National Geographic is still not going to be happy with our product," Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink, etc..."

Perhaps I should show Sriram Peruvemba a Kodachrome slide which National Geographic used for many decades from the 1930s onward--it set the standard in colour reproduction for over 50 years! Kodachrome looks wonderful with many vibrant colours, was invented in 1934 and in production in 1937, once processed it doesn't use any power except external light source--even daylight works, and if well looked after and stored correctly it will last for 200 hundred years--and yes--it's old analog technology!

Methinks we should have a whip-around and buy Sriram Peruvemba and his research department a Kodak carousel projector with a few Kodachrome slides. On the gift card we'd write "Please start your product research here".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wot a damn crapy bullshit excuse!

Stop whining, start making or STFU.

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Re: @GW -- P.S.

Remember to tell him how to change the stored image on a Kodachrome slide using electronic methods.

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Momma don't take my kodachrome away

Kodachrome (or Technicolor for that mater) is/was great, but dead.

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Headmaster

> analog technology

It has nothing to do with "analog".

You could call it "bulk technology" or "undifferentiated chemical processing", but certainly not "analog".

Dividing technology into "analog and digital" is like dividing the world into "blue objects" and "green objects".

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@Anonymous Coward -- Re: Wot a damn crapy bullshit excuse!

Easy to say when you're an Anonymous Coward. Most Luddites were Anonymous Coward's too--they hid in the mobs that smashed the machines.

Shame there are so many consumers that will buy any crap that's put in front of them (but methinks you're probably a manufacturer in disguise).

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@tom 35 -- Re: Momma don't take my kodachrome away

Of course Kodachrome and Technicolor are dead, that was my point! The same as Sriram Peruvemba's crappy e-readers ought to be dead.

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@Destroy All Monsters -- Correct.

Totally agree, but tell that to most marketing departments and you'd be told to piss off. Similarly, try to change the popular cultural view 'that if it isn't digital then it's useless' and you'd have a snowball's chance.

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Re: @tom 35 -- Momma don't take my kodachrome away

I take it that reading and comprehension are not your strong points.

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The physics is easy...

... it's the tech to achieve it that's tricky.

For the physical configuration you need to layer the colour sub-pixels in a stack on top of one another (not adjacent to each other like an LCD).

At the bottom of the stack is a white reflector, then above that you layer cyan, magneta and yellow pixels which can individually change from colourless transparent to their saturated C/M/Y.

This setup will get you close to the brightness (in principle) of a printed page.

All that's required is to design a technology to produce such a configuration.

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Boffin

Re: The physics is easy...

"At the bottom of the stack is a white reflector, then above that you layer cyan, magneta and yellow pixels which can individually change from colourless transparent to their saturated C/M/Y."

Sounds like the Polaroid instant picture process.

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@techmind -- Re: The physics is easy...

Ahh, someone with sense at last but don't underestimate corporate marketing. This article is all about Sriram Peruvemba offering excuses not to change the status quo.

Remember the stats quo is almost the immovable object when corporate marketing gets involved. Remember Foveon?

Enough said!

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Happy

@the physics is easy

AND a technology that produces such a configuration that you can read on a sunny day.

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It is a lame excuse

Triton is basically monochrome e-ink with some colour filters sitting on top. It's like tinting a black and white photo.

It's too bad Mirasol suffered yield issues because that tech produced far more vibrant images than Triton did.

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Childcatcher

Re: It is a lame excuse

This mirrors the comment about Kodachrome in that you are comparing (if I understand the various tech involved) subtractive vs. additive color methods. Subtractive methods for e-ink are simpler and cheaper, but produce inferior results (in general). If someone comes up with a relatively inexpensive additive method for e-ink, it should be a winner.

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Meh

But good enough for *occaisional* use?

After all the Windows UI guidelines required 16 colours to work.

This is good for 4096 (4 bits of each color) at 12fps (which Plastic Logic demonstrated) of video.

So you've the ability for a friend to throw you a youtube video of some gory mishap and it's good enough to store for up load to your main machine.

Seriously how many people want to run blender or Autocad on their phone to generate content?

Apple built a product line on stuff that cannot do that either.

So occasional use for quick looks of stuff should be OK. The big USP of eInk remains the huge battery life you get with it. I think people would be OK with a system that allowed instant access to media for detailed viewing later. It might knock the battery life from 1 month to 1 week.

Remind me again how long most laptops and phone run off their batteries.

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Facepalm

Kill Bill

Not really fussed about e-readers or e-ink, but congrats on the Tarantino reference, even if I haven't quite worked out the connection with the article.

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Go

4096 colours

So that'll be HAM mode as on my old Amiga 500 then...

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Go

Re: 4096 colours

"So that'll be HAM mode as on my old Amiga 500 then..."

It's been a long time since I had to understand this stuff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hold-And-Modify

But I'd say better than HAM mode as you won't be fiddling around with palettes all the time.

HAM was an issue of how to map the display RAM (6 bits/pixe?)to drive the display lookup table (12).

Today they probably would just drive the display with 12 bits/pixel.

I'd expect any image you could have display in HAM you could do on a colour eInk display, with limits on the frame rate and of course if the colour is set using eInk then it will be retained without static power (and could be arranged to skip, on a per pixel basis if the next image is the same as the last).

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Boffin

Re: 4096 colours

Better than HAM, actually.

HAM created artefacts on vertical edges, as -- unless you were switching to one of 16 defined colours -- only one of the three channels could change at a time. (You got 6 bits per pixel; these could be an R change, a G change, a B change or a palette-index change.) So to change from one RGB value to another could take 3 pixels; each scanline was always read out in series from left to right.

Careful choice of base palette could minimise HAM edge artefacts.

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Boffin

Re: 4096 colours

"Careful choice of base palette could minimise HAM edge artifacts."

This is OT but did anyone produce a tool to optimize the HAM palette changes?

It seems like one of those tasks which would be tedious to do by hand but which could give significantly faster (fewer pallet changes) and better rendering, especially for non computer generated images (IE photos).

The days when PC main memory came in <1MB.

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Bugger ebooks

If they can get eink colour tech sorted properly the real money's in billboards.

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"If I told you who we were talking with," he told us on the CES ShowStoppers exhibition floor, "next year you would be here, but I wouldn't."

that'll be Apple then

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Anonymous Coward

Completely the wrong end of the stick

I don't know what article you lot were reading, but it sure sounds different to the one I read. He wasn't making excuses, he was saying ... we've made a colour display, but it's not that great for up close quality viewing, we're trying to make a better one but it's a bit tricky, we need to try harder.

Nice to see some one being honest for once.

As to you other idiots, if you think it's that easy go do it yourselves....

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let the competition through ,,,

Any updates on Qualcomm Mirasol?

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Re: let the competition through ,,,

Any updates on Qualcomm Mirasol?

Back in July they announced they would only be releasing it in "limited products", and were looking to license the tech rather than manufacture it. Someone commenting above mentioned yield issues; I hadn't heard that, but I hadn't really been paying attention, either.

There are a handful of Asian e-readers with Mirasol displays.

I thought it looked promising - maybe someone will resurrect it yet.

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