Amazon Signs With E Ink for New, Brighter E-Reader Display

E-book display developer E Ink has introduced an update to its electronic paper display technology called Pearl, which the firm claims will offer 50 percent better contrast ratio and a better outdoor reading experience than current products.

The Pearl technology builds on the current generation of Vizplex designs used in e-readers like the Sony Reader, the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, by increasing the contrast to provide sharper text and images on screen. The background has been improved from the relative flatness of a newspaper to a brightness more akin to a paperback book, according to E Ink, making it easier to read outdoors. All told, Pearl has 16 gray levels for producing sharper images and smoother tones.

"E Ink Pearl enables further adoption with a next generation product that is a more lightweight and eco-friendly product than ordinary paper, with less eye strain and longer battery life than an LCD," said Felix Ho, chairman of E Ink, in a statement.

E Ink describes its displays as "completely bi-stable," meaning no power is needed to hold an image or page of text. A reader can be left on at the same page for weeks or months, the company claims. E Ink has partnered with semiconductor providers Epson, Freescale, Marvell and Texas Instruments, which have all developed integrated circuits that will support the Pearl platform.

The first customer of the new Pearl platform is Amazon, which will begin shipping a new version of its larger Kindle DX e-reader on July 7. Amazon is also cutting the price $110 to $379, making it more price competitive against the $499 -- and full color -- Apple iPad.

The DX is a 9.7 inch device, same size as the iPad, and one-third of an inch thick. It comes with free 3G wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity and can last up to one week with Wi-Fi on, or two weeks with Wi-Fi turned off. There are no monthly charges. It can hold up to 3,50 books, periodicals and documents, including PDF files.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Amazon, iPad, Kindle, e-reader, E Ink