Colour version of Kindle on the way?

NEW YORK: Up until now, people who have bought e-readers have had to make a compromise: Either read in colour on a highly reflective screen, or read in shades of gray on a display that’s easy to make out the text, even outdoors.

E Ink Corp, the company that makes the black-and-white display for Inc’s Kindle, said it will begin selling screens that also show colours.

The new technology, called E Ink Triton, displays 16 shades of gray, along with thousands of colours. As with other E Ink displays, people should be able to read it anywhere without having to squint.

Amazon did not immediately respond to inquiries on whether that means a colour Kindle is coming. It has said that although it hasn’t ruled out colour E Ink displays, the technology isn’t yet ready for prime time.

Even in colour, E Ink still presents compromises. On the one hand, e-readers with E Ink screens have longer battery lives than those with reflective LCD displays, such as Apple Inc’s iPad. But colours will appear more muted on E Ink displays. And E Ink’s technology still cannot play video, as the iPad and other Tablets can.

The first e-reader with a colour E Ink screen will come from Chinese manufacturer Hanvon. The e-reader will have a display that measures 9.7in diagonally, and readers will be able to get online through either WiFi or a 3G cellular connection. It is expected to go on sale in China for about US$440 (RM1,400).

Hanvon, which sells other products such as Tablets in US stores, said it might sell its newest e-reader in the United States. — AP

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