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E-Ink Innovations and new commercial products at IFA 2014

E-Ink Innovations @ IFA 2014 [lesen.net YouTube channel, Sept 5, 2014]

New commercial products:

  1. Sony
  2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)

1. Sony

Sony expands SmartWear Experience range with two new additions for Lifelog – SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 [Sony Mobile press release, Sept 3, 2014]


    • SmartWear Experience is Sony’s vision for smart, wearable technology founded on three principles: lifelogging, flexible style and intelligent notifications
    • SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, bringing call handling and voice control from your wrist, with an always-on curved 1.4” e-paper display
    • SmartWatch 3 is the first smartwatch specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates
    • Desktop web interface, and open API for Lifelog app later in 2014, bringing new experiences and further opportunity for personalisation
    • Announcement of Roxy collaboration for limited edition SmartBand SWR10 styles

Sony Mobile today announced the addition of two new products to its SmartWear Experience range, Sony SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3. Both talk to the popular Lifelog, the accompanying app designed to help you understand more about the way to live and move, so you can improve and enrich your life.

SmartWear from Sony – waterproof* wearable technology [Sony Experia YouTube channel, Sept 3, 2014]

Looking for innovative wearable tech? SmartBand, SmartBand Talk, and SmartWatch 3 are waterproof* and wearable 24/7. Log your life, smash your fitness goals, and automatically track activities. The sleek and durable designs in a range of contemporary colours mean you stay stylish – wherever you are, whatever the weather.

SmartWatch 3 from Sony – The stylish way to handle music, calls and life logging.

The time has come to wear Android technology on your wrist. A beautiful stainless steel silver core unit lies within the changeable wrist straps, so SmartWatch 3 changes as often as your wardrobe does. Experience real time life logging and the power to handle messages and calls even when your hands are full. With waterproof* durability, SmartWatch 3 will even work come rain or shine. It’s here, it’s waiting and it’s all in the details.

Keep up with your life with the Lifelog Android app from Sony

Connect your Sony SmartWear to the innovative Lifelog app on your Xperia smartphone, then automatically track your activities day and night. Whether you’re walking, running, or even climbing stairs, Lifelog tracks your movements, communications, entertainment and physical activity then lets you look back on the day to see where you went and how you got there – including pictures you took and music you listened to. Why track only steps and calories when you can log your whole day?

SmartBand Talk – waterproof* wearable technology from Sony

SmartBand Talk from Sony doesn’t just make great arm candy, it can also handle calls, activity tracking, and voice commands. Why settle for good tech, when you have have great tech?

Sony Smartband Talk – innovative wearable technology and call handling

Experience the innovative freedom of wearable waterproof technology with Sony Smartband Talk. Equipped with intelligent Lifelog technology that tracks your activity 24/7, a smart E-Ink display and voice control straight from your wrist. Take calls on the run, view appointments at a glance and listen to your favourite music, hands-free.

“Life is a journey, and journeys are made up of stories and experiences that define you – this is the underlying principle for Lifelog, the Android app at the heart of our SmartWear Experience. We’re going beyond mere fitness tracking and number crunching, to help you log and preserve those emotional moments that matter” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. ”As a pioneer of smart and wearable technology, SmartBand Talk, SmartWatch 3 and Lifelog don’t merely affirm Sony’s leadership in the space, but as the innovators who dare to be different – bringing the world choice; products and services no else can, or will.”

SmartBand Talk – a powerful lifelogging wearable, with intuitive features

SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, built for users who live life to the fullest.

With its built-in microphone and speaker, SmartBand Talk comes equipped with a short call function so you can talk into it and hear your caller, with HD Voice support – perfect for when you’re on the move or your phone is out of reach. Through Sony’s integrated Voice Control1technology, you can also assign your own sounds to life bookmarks and use your voice to carry out specific smartphone operations.

SmartBand Talk’s curved, always-on 1.4” e-paper display is a fresh creative approach, based on consumer feedback. It’s low-power but highly visible and clear; you can monitor Lifelog activity, view notifications and the time at a glance.

New built-in accelerometer and altimeter sensor technology feels how you move – and how much – to provide an accurate overview of your daily physical activity; whether it be walking, running or climbing. You can see how active you were and how you have been communicating, as it pulls all of your information from your smartphone and then enables you to view it on its  e-paper display screen, wherever and whenever you like.

As you’d expect, SmartBand Talk is waterproof2 (IP68 rated), and launch styles will include Black and White, with extra vibrant colours available later in the year – so something for everyone, whether blending in with your work clothes or a fun accessory to a casual outfit, allowing you to express your individual style.

SmartWatch 3 – Sony’s latest generation “smartwatch”, powered by Android Wear

After leading the market since 2007, SmartWatch 3 is Sony’s latest generation SmartWatch, but the first specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates in close collaboration with Google. This partnership matches Sony’s leadership in smart, wearable products with Google’s software and platform expertise to create a unique wearable experience founded on both hardware and software innovation.

Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. You can get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance. It could be flight information, tips based on your interests or messages of any kind, so user input is seldom necessary. But if you need to interact with Android Wear, voice is easiest way.

Even without your Android smartphone, SmartWatch 3 is a fun and useful accessory with impressive standalone functionality. The built-in microphone, and Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro and GPS sensor technology means more accurate, more powerful lifelogging.

SmartWatch 3 offers significant step ups from SmartWatch 2, including a 1.6” 320×320 TFT LCD Transflective display for visibility in bright sunlight, set within a stainless steel back panel, for a premium look and feel. It is of course waterproof, rated IP683 – and charges via a standard microUSB port.

It has a built-in 4GB local memory, that means you can sync playlists, and simply connect with a Bluetooth headset to listen. You can do this before a run, leaving the smartphone at home and still have great music offline – you can also track that run with GPS and Lifelog.

It will be available in Classic (Black) and Sport (Lime) editions, with extra colour straps available in Pink and White after launch.

Lifelog – a personal Android application, that captures and tells your story

Downloadable from the Google Play Store, Lifelog is a fun Android app built to enable you to set and achieve goals, bookmark memorable moments, and revisit memories any time, so that you get to know yourself better.

SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 both enable and present lifelogging activity and data on the wrist, but also connect to the application on your Android smartphone via Bluetooth® and NFC, once you connect to your Sony Entertainment Network3 account.

Sony is previewing a new web interface login for Lifelog, accessible from the Sony Mobile website later this year, designed to give users even more visibility and control over their lifestyle data. And, during 2014, Sony will open up the API for partners to integrate services with Lifelog or build completely fresh experiences.

Sony outlined that together with accessories brand Proporta, it would soon share SmartBand SWR10 collections featuring licensed designs from leading labels, Ted Baker and Barbour.

Sony also introduced a new collaboration with famous and popular lifestyle brand – Roxy, the female surf, snowboard, clothing and accessories brand – to bring limited edition SmartWear styles to market later this year.

SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 – the fashionable new additions to Sony’s SmartWear Experience range will launch later in Autumn 2014.

SmartBand Talk     SmartWatch 3     SmartWear

2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)

From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the [6” phablet] HERO – their headline act at IFA 2013 [press release, Sept 4, 2013]

Extend your display with the E Ink Cover. Read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with this fresh digital experience. The technology enables users to read as if physical ink and paper on their mobile device with the stable image and wider viewing angle.

E Ink SmartCover [prototype] for Alcatel One Touch Hero [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Sept 16, 2013]

The Alcatel One Touch Hero has a E Ink display cover which can display system functions and can act as a second screen for reading ebooks. The E Ink cover attaches to the device using a docking pin on the side of the device. The E Ink screen by displaying content rather than having the LCD do it you save power. The final version of the cover will have the ability to magnetically clip to the back. The E Ink cover at this time only supports the built in e-reader app but 3rd support should come in the future. The One touch hero has a 6″ full hd screen with pen support, the MT6589T 1.5Ghz Quad-core processor, 8gb and 16gb options with Micro SD expansion, 2gb of ram, and 3400mah battery.

From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the HERO 2 [press release, Sept 4, 2014]

HERO 2: the centre of a smart ecosystem built to users’ needs

With a host of companion devices, HERO 2 adapts to every need. It is the centre of an ecosystem of creative connected devices that users can carry, put on their desk or connect to their TV. An array of MagicFlip covers provide customised capabilities: MagicFlip DJ for music, MagicFlip LED lights up with information about missed calls, alerts or the time.

With the compact companion device Sidekick 2, users can remotely control TV, music and more. It also acts as an extension to users’ phones, allowing them to access messages, contact lists and more. The portable E-Card allows users to read notes, maps, e-books with the comfort of paper. The SmartBook functions as a smartphone in laptop form, while TVLink connects the HERO 2 to larger screens wirelessly.

With these features, accessories and companion devices, ALCATEL ONETOUCH ensures a truly versatile experience through connectivity to multiple screens. Everyone can invent their own personalized HERO 2, and unleash their unique creativity.

The HERO 2 will be available on the market in September 2014.

Reading comics with E-Card [Michael Zhou YouTube channel, July 2, 2014]

E-Card is a reading companion with E Ink display. It’s a convenient and eyestrain free pocket reading device. It’s easy to read content stored on your mobile phone via bluetooth. And also support Notifications(Incoming call, SMS, E-Mail, Alarm), weather and push images. The following is the demonstration of reading comics via E-Card.

MWC 2012 day 1 news [Feb 27, 2012]: Samsung and Nokia


Samsung had a number of enhanced GALAXY products (see them in the “Details for Samsung” section below). The really strong message from innovation point of view from them has, however, been (considered by them as “hidden gems”):
Samsung Mobile – Beyond Product [ YouTube Channel]

Tour the Samsung Mobile booth at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. Find out more about our new innovations, from AllShare Play and Control through Smart Driving and Smart School to NFC mobile payments.

UPDATE: for Nokia the major competition is the overall Android ecosystem, and not only in the proper smartphone market as:
– repeatedly stressed by Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia:

Our number-one focus is competing with Android. [see here and here]

The principal competition is Android, and then Apple. [see here]

– indicated in relevant excerpts from the Nokia 2011 fiscal year report [March 8, 2012] as:

Market overview

… Today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Increasingly, basic feature phone models, supported by innovations in both hardware and software, are also providing people with the opportunity to access the Internet and applications and, on the whole, offering them a more smartphone-like experience.

Whether smartphones or feature phones, mobile devices geared for Internet access and their accompanying Internet data plans are also becoming increasingly affordable and, consequently, they are becoming attractive to a broader range of consumer groups and geographic markets. A notable recent development has been the increased affordability of devices based on the Android platform, which has enabled some vendors to offer smartphones for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been dominated by more basic feature phone offerings.



…  some competitors’ offerings based on Android are available for purchase by consumers for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been traditionally dominated by feature phone offerings, including those offered by Nokia. Accordingly, lower-priced smartphones are increasingly reducing the addressable market and lowering the price points for feature phone. …

Principal Factors & Trends Affecting our Results of Operations

Devices & Service

Increased Pervasiveness of Smartphones and Smartphone-like Experiences Across the Price Spectrum

During the past year, we saw the increasing availability of more affordable smartphones, particularly Android-based smartphones, connected devices and related services which were able to reach lower price points contributing to a decline in the average selling prices of smartphones in our industry.

This trend affects us in two ways. First, it puts pressure on the price of our smartphones and potentially our profitability, as we need to price our smartphones competitively. We currently partially address this with our Symbian device offering in specific regions and distribution channels, and we plan to introduce and bring to markets new and more affordable Nokia products with Windows Phone in 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 announced in February 2012. Second, lower-priced smartphones put pressure on our higher-end feature phone offering from our Mobile Phones unit. We are addressing this with our planned introductions in 2012 ofsmarter, competitively priced feature phones with more modern user experiences, including software, services and application experiences. In support of our Mobile Phones business, we also plan to drive third party innovation through working with our partners to engage in building strong, local ecosystems.

Full information is in the Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion” based on software and web optimization with super low-cost 2.5/2.75G SoCs [Feb 14 – March 8, 2012] post on this blog.


For Nokia, accordingly, a number of innovations have already been introduced on the MWC 2012, from the hardware level up to the services which surround all that. So for Nokia I will provide a video-based overview here well before going into the “Details for Nokia” section in the very end:

Nokia Press Conference Highlights from MWC 2012 [ YouTube channel]

Key points: Nokia Lumia 610 is announced. Award-winning Nokia Lumia 900 will become available in various markets outside the US. Nokia PureView elevates industry standard in smartphone imaging. New Asha feature phones and services grow increasingly ‘smarter’.

Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-On Video [ YouTube channel]

The funky Nokia Lumia 610 http://nokia.ly/AztJvZ is the most affordable Lumia phone yet, but it delivers everything you need in a smartphone. The People Hub pulls family and friends’ contact details in one place, along with Facebook and Twitter feeds. A choice of colours, with metallic trim, makes the phone an individual style statement. [$254 (€189). Has a 3.7” 800 x 480 WVGA LCD display.]

The Windows Phone Xbox tie-in and 5-megapixel camera add to the funky package. And Nokia Music, with Mix Radio (availability may vary by market), Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and Nokia Reading – make this phone unbeatable value.

UPDATE: the Nokia Lumia 610 won Tom’s Hardware Best in show and Best Budget Smartphone from Laptop. See here.

Introducing the White Nokia Lumia 900 – Live Large [ YouTube channel]

Meet the new Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone http://nokia.ly/zoyq6L Find out how fast amazing can be. And social. And beautiful. With its award winning design including front facing camera and Live Tiles, keeping in touch with friends, and the entire Internet, has never been so easy. [$645 (€480). Has a 4.3” 800 x 480 WVGA AMOLED ClearBlack display with Gorilla Glass.]

Experience The Amazing Everyday.

First Look at Nokia Reading on Nokia Lumia [ YouTube channel]

In this hands on video, Rhidian from Nokia talks about Nokia Reading, a premium e-book and audio experience service announced at Mobile World Congress 2012, and shows how it works on Nokia Lumia.

Nokia Reading will be available for Nokia Lumia handsets from April and will first launch in six markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia) with more to follow.

UPDATE: Nokia Reading: Get gripped by a great book [Nokia Coversations blog, Feb 28, 2012]

Nokia Reading follows the same simple and elegant panorama design we’ve become used to with other services, delivering the whole experience through a beautifully designed “reading hub.”

Nokia is working with some of the world’s biggest publishers, including Penguin and Hachette, and Pearson to launch a world class e-book and audiobook experience that’s been designed specifically for the Nokia Lumia.

Using a single, simple app you can choose your own favourite authors, or select bestselling novels and the top local books in your own language. If you’re not sure that you’ll like a book, Nokia Reading lets you browse some sample pages before you buy. Or you can download and read one of the thousands of classic works of literature that will be available for free.

Once you have chosen a book, large, clear, smartphone screens like those on the Nokia Lumia make reading an enjoyable experience – and you can switch to ‘night mode,’ change the font or adjust brightness, if your eyes get tired in the evening. It’s also great on an underground train or plane, because you can read everything offline after downloading beforehand over WiFi or mobile network

In coming months you’ll also be able to create a personalized magazine page (called “news stream”) that updates content across the most popular categories, and adds web content from your chosen sites.

Nokia 808 PureView – The next breakthrough in photography [ YouTube channel]

The game changer! Nokia 808 PureView http://nokia.ly/xz6mhS takes every bit of image goodness captured by a 41MP sensor and Carl Zeiss lens and turns it into beautifully detailed images and Full HD videos. Be ready to shoot and share with friends in an instant. [$605 (€450). Has a 4” 640 x 360  16:9 nHD AMOLED display.]

The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.

UPDATE: Zooming in on Nokia PureView [article on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, Feb 29, 2012]: meet the brains behind Nokia PureView Eero Salmelin and Juha Alakarhu, and also learn the history of this 5 years long journey that lead to the delivery on MWC 2012

UPDATE: Nokia 808 PureView partner makes it unbeatable [Nokia Conversations blog, March 1, 2012]

Dolby reveals audio secret of new phone’s success

Taking pride of place at their stand, the world’s best camera phone owes much to Dolby technologies for helping to make it an HD mobile entertainment device.

For the PureView is also about pure audio thanks to its high-definition Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel surround sound which plays on HD TVs, and home theatre systems, and when combined with Dolby Headphone technology – also built into the PureView – provides a personal 5.1 surround experience over any headphones.

Nokia is also bringing the Dolby experience to other smartphones with Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1 software upgrade for the Nokia 700, Nokia 701, and Nokia 603, also displayed on the Dolby stand.

Mobile Sales Director Shawn Richards talked us through the tech on a Nokia 700 with a demo from Batman movie The Dark Knight.

He explained that the Dolby Headphone upgrade transforms stereo content into a personal surround sound.

“You get a more natural, engaging, and authentic sound,” he said. “Good audio is even more important when you are watching a movie on a small screen. And Dolby Headphone creates a totally immersive feel.”

UPDATE: Nokia 808 Pureview – Best New Mobile Handset, Device or Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2012 [ YouTube channel, March 1, 2012]

Nokia 808 PureView wins top MWC award!
Our awesome camera phone scoops the top award from Mobile World Congress 2012 judges.

UPDATE: Damian Dinning explains Nokia PureView technology [ YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]

Nokia’s imaging expert Damian Dinning explains the breakthrough camera technology behind Nokia 808 PureView.

You could also check out the gorgeous photos taken with Nokia 808 PureView from the flickr.

UPDATE: Nokia PureView Q&A with Damian Dinning [interview on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, March 1, 2012]

Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 – See what you hear [ YouTube channel]

The new Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 comes with an integrated FM radio and OLED display. It as excellent audio quality and NFC for easy pairing with your phone. Learn more at: www.accessories.nokia.com

Nokia Asha 302: Meet the designer [ YouTube channel]

Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/xXK4kV was designed with one simple goal in mind – to design the best looking QWERTY phone for today’s urban professionals. The metallic touch points, bold and sophisticated colors and smooth edges help users stand out and project success giving the phone a great premium feel. [$128 (€95). Has a 2.4” 320 x 240  QVGA TFT display.]

UPDATE: The Nokia C3-00 won Best Feature Phone or Entry Level Phone at the GSMA Awards 2012 in Barcelona. Blanca Juti, VP for Mobile Phones Product Marketing said to Nokia Conversations after collecting the prize: “It’s great for our products going forward, because the Nokia Asha 302 we launched yesterday is pretty much the successor to C3 which has had an amazing run in the market.” See here.

Nokia Asha 302: Premium All Round QWERTY [ YouTube channel]

Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/x5m2zm is a QWERTY phone with great value for money. It is packed with a 1 Ghz processor and is great for social networking, Email, Instant messaging, supports Mail for Exchange and has a premium design with stunning looks.

Nokia Asha 203: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

The Nokia Asha 203 http://nokia.ly/x78ZBe is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

Nokia Asha 202 Dual SIM: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

The Nokia Asha 202 http://nokia.ly/yOGbDA is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. Plus it comes with Easy Swap Dual SIM.  [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

After exactly a year from the announcement of their new strategic set-up and direction it is quite obvious from all that above that Nokia is well on to realizing the corresponding transition. In fact they are redefining themselves which is well described by this video just published 2 days before the start of MWC 2012:

The New Essence of Nokia  [ YouTube channel]

We believe that everybody can have a richer, fuller life every day, everywhere. That means upgrading an ordinary moment to an exciting one or finding an unexpected experience to share with others. Intuitively, fast and easy. This is Nokia’s new mantra, this is the new essence of Nokia.

I see this overall brand message fitting rather well with their new and enhanced portfolio as you could judge for yourself from the above video presentations. In this way they have proceeded quite well from the disastrous situation they were a year ago, and which had been described quite extensively in the following post on this blog: Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21 – March 25, 2011].

 Details for Samsung

This is the first hands-on video of GALAXY Beam from the Mobile World Congress 2012. GALAXY Beam is Samsung’s new projector smartphone that allows you to display and share multimedia content or business information instantly no matter where you are. For more information: http://www.samsungmobilepress.com/2012/02/26/GALAXY-Beam
MobileBurn.com – Samsung had relatively few things to announce at MWC 2012 this year, but one of them was the Galaxy Note 10.1, a larger version of the original Galaxy Note. The Note 10.1 uses the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) as its design inspiration (it looks nearly identical), but it adds S Pen capabilities to draw and notate on the screen. The Note 10.1 is powered by a dual-core, 1.4GHz processor and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s TouchWiz enhancements. More info: http://www.mobileburn.com/18681/gallery/samsung-galaxy-note-101-live-impressions

Details for Nokia

All the launches: Nokia at Mobile World Congress [Nokia Conversations‎ blog]

BARCELONA, Spain – Nokia announces six new phones and an array of new and updated services, advancing its new strategy and setting the pace for 2012.

Here’s our star-studded line-up for Barcelona 2012.

Nokia Lumia 610

The Nokia Lumia 610 is our most affordable Windows Phone to date – and the fourth we’ve brought to market. It’s aimed at young people who want access to a smartphone experience at the right price. Offering access to social networking, games, Nokia Maps and navigation, web-browsing and Nokia Music, the Lumia 610 comes in four bright colours. It will cost just €189 [$254] before taxes and subsidies, and starts shipping in April.

Nokia Lumia 900

First announced in January for AT&T’s LTE network in the US, the Nokia Lumia 900 will now be available worldwide in an HSPA+ edition. The Dual Carrier HSPA phone will allow for downloads up 42.2 Mbps. With a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, mobile media never looked so good, while an upgraded battery means there’s no compromise on longevity.

[Lumia 900 [DC-HSPA variant] $645 (€480) according to the press release]

Read the full story

which one is your favourite

Nokia 808 PureView

The Nokia 808 PureView extends our leadership in camera phones, with an amazing 41-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and brand new pixel over-sampling technology. This means pin-sharp pictures, great low-light performance, yet with the ability to save your images in a suitable file size for social media, MMS and email. Also watch out for full 1080p video recording and exclusive Dolby Headphone technology to enrich the sound of any stereo content.
[The Nokia 808 PureView has a current price of €450 [$605]. It will be hitting stores in Q2 2012. – according to a press report]

Read the full story

Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

We’re also introducing three new Nokia Asha mobile phones with new capabilities to bring them to smarter heights than ever. Aimed at urban consumers across the world, the Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203 offer more than ever in terms of work and play. The Asha 302 is a QWERTY phone with support for Microsoft Exchange synchronisation, a first for Series 40 phones. The Asha 202 and 203 bring touch screens to a lower price point than ever and come with a massive entertainment bundle.
[Asha 202/203 $81 (€60), Asha 302 $128 (€95) according to the press release]

Read the full story 


Super Services

Not satisfied with six new phones, there’s a whole raft of new and improved services. Nokia Drive for Windows Phone will now offer full, offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, there’s Nokia Reading, the best e-book experience for Nokia Lumia. And Nokia Life bringing life skills, parenting, education, agriculture and entertainment services to Series 30 and 50 phones in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Read the full story

Click through for all the in-depth stories from today’s press conference. We’ll be bringing you even more detail, hands-on experiences and interviews with the brains behind these beauties over the course of the week.

Nokia 808 PureView

Remember that Nokia PureView tease from a few days ago? Well, suddenly it all makes sense. We are indeed looking at an imaging flagship phone and a true successor to the N8. It’s called the 808 PureView and it’s expected to reach Europe in the next quarter for a price of 450 Euros. Before we move on to its craziest feature — the camera, of course! — let’s run down the other key specs: The OS is Symbian Belle; the engine is a 1.3GHz single-core chip; the display is 4-inches corner to corner but its resolution is a Nokia-style 360 x 640 (nHD). There’s 512MB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage that is thankfully expandable via microSD. A Pentaband modem increases the chances of getting a signal while globe-trotting, while data speeds will top out at plain HSPA 14.4Mbps. Now that Carl Zeiss-lensed camera: it handles continuous-focus 1080p, but is claimed to have an incredible sensor resolution of over 41-megapixels when shooting stills — or 34-megapixels for 16:9 images. It’s achieved by some clever sub-pixel interpolation jiggery-pokery that entails five pixels being merged into one to produce a final image with a max resolution of 8-megapixels, but we’ll dig deeper very soon. It’s expected to arrive in May at a price of €450 and if you’re curious, we’ve got a gallery of hands-on images and video for your viewing pleasure. Just follow the break for our first impressions. If you haven’t been sufficiently smacked in the face with the Nokia 808 PureView’s primary selling point, let’s settle the score right now: it’s a phone for camera enthusiasts. As niche devices often go, the sheer optical goodness will come with a few sacrifices. First and foremost, we’re a bit puzzled by Nokia’s choice of Symbian for the phone’s OS. That’s not to say that Belle isn’t a fine operating system, but it’s certainly a polarizing decision — not to mention perplexing, given the company’s ‘all-in’ approach to Windows Phone. Secondly, the 808 PureView is rather chunky, which is emphasized by the bulbous camera pod on the rear. In many ways, Nokia’s phone more closely rivals a point-and-shoot camera in size than a smartphone. That said, it’s still an infinitely pocketable handset, but there are certainly many other high-quality camera phones on the market that don’t demand such sacrifices. If you’re able to move beyond these two major caveats, the 808 PureView is likely a handset that many will come to adore — even if the fondness is learned over time. It features a lovely ClearBlack display, and while it’s decidedly low-res, it’s more than sufficient for Symbian Belle and its associated apps. Below the phone’s screen, users will find an extended rocker that provides access to the home screen, dialer and on / off switch. These physical buttons are combined with additional navigation options that are situated directly above on the touchscreen. The phone also features a headphone jack, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports along the top — each recessed into a pod of their own — and the volume rocker, screen lock slider and dedicated camera button along the right-hand side. Via engadget

Nokia Lumia 610 and 900 [DC-HSPA variant]

Live from MWC 2012 Phonearena presents Nokia Lumia 610 demo. A heavily rumored handset, the Nokia Lumia 610 was finally announced today here at MWC 2012. As expected, the 610 is the first real budget-friendly Windows Phone, expected to retail for about $255 (EUR 189), which is pretty decent for a Windows Phone. For the full details, see our Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-on Review from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Lumia-610-Hands-on-Review_id27389

Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

PhoneArena live from MWC 2012: Nokia Asha 302 Hands-on Review. The Nokia Asha 302 is the full QWERTY business class addition to the extremely affordable Asha lineup based on Series 40. For the full details, see our Nokia Asha 302 hands-on from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Asha-302-Hands-on-Review_id27399

Super Services

E Ink strategic value proposition: displays on every smart surface

UpdatesReflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]

E Ink and SiPix
Meanwhile, could color have anything do to do with E Ink’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire SiPix, whose microcup technology does show promise in that area? E Ink will certainly utilize SiPix’s color capabilities, says Sriram K. Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings. Peruvemba characterizes that color as having “some of the same advantages as E Ink in that it is low power, sunlight readable, thin, light … .”
Beyond a doubt, one area of interest for E Ink is SiPix’s manufacturing capabilities. “SiPix’s factories, equipment, and infrastructure are relatively newer, which gives us greater flexibility and additional capacity as we seek new markets,” says Peruvemba. Among the markets that the potential acquisition will make more accessible, he says, are digital signage and smart cards.
When it comes to E Ink, it isn’t necessarily all about color, notes University of Cincinnati’s Jason Heikenfeld, who has served as a guest editor for Information Display (and is also a founder of e-Paper up-and-comer  Gamma Dynamics, mentioned later on). “We should maintain excitement about the continued expansion of monochrome e-Paper products,” he says. “A quiet revolution continues to take place there. Color-video e-Paper will also have its day, but today we should be impressed with E Ink’s continued product growth and diversification.”
Any way you look at it, with E Ink, whose share of the e-Reader market is more than 90%, poised to acquire AUO subsidiary SiPix, further consolidation in the e-Paper market seems inevitable. At press time, E Ink had reached an agreement to acquire 82.7% of SiPix’s shares and was seeking to acquire up to a 100% stake, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion [US$ 51.2 million]. [See: Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink’s portfolio of offerings [E Ink Holdings press release, Aug 3, 2012]] As DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza wrote in a recent blog, titled And Then There Was One – E Ink to Acquire SiPix, “Combined with Bridgestone’s exit [earlier this year] from the electrophoretic display (EPD) business, this means that E Ink, the first company to mass produce EPDs, will be the sole manufacturer of the technology.”
Yet, the e-Paper story isn’t all black and white. In the future, look for news from Liquavista (which Samsung acquired in January 2011) and Gamma Dynamics (a spinoff from the University of Cincinnati). Both companies have video-capable displays (Liquivista’s is based on electrowetting and Gamma Dynamics’s on electrofluidics) that are reported to show more vibrant color than previously available.

Meanwhile innovation in “color inking” is continuing as evidenced by Vivid e-ink makes ditching books a colourful choice [NewScientist, Sept 5, 2012]

… Naoki Hiji of Fuji Xerox in Kaisei, Japan, and colleagues have built a prototype system that uses tiny fluid-filled cells containing cyan, magenta, yellow and white particles to produce almost any colour.
Black-and-white e-ink displays work by having negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in fluid inside a cell. Apply a negative electrical field to the cell, and white particles move to the top and become visible; flip the current, and black shows up.
Hiji’s display uses the same principle, but each colour particle responds to a certain intensity of electrical field, while the white particles are uncharged (see diagram). …

No problem with reading on tablets over a long period of time [Eva Siegenthaler on IFeL bloggt, Sept 20, 2012]

Tablets are not suited for reading over an extended period of time”; this statement is widespread. For example Scott Liu, head of the American-Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, states that reading over an extended period of time on a Liquid Crystal display leads to increased visual fatigue. “The iPad is a fascinating multifunctional device, but not intended for hour-long reading” (stern.de). In comparison, E-ink readers, with their paper similar displays, are looked at as an adequate replacement for a book.
But is it true that the tablet is an inadequate device for reading over an extended period of time? Critical statements against the tablet as a replacement for the book are widespread but there is a lack of scientific evidence for these assumptions. For that reason, a study answering this question was implemented at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL).
In a laboratory study, the participants read for several hours on either E-ink (Sony PRS-600) or LCD-Tablet (Apple iPad), where different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly (after each hour) recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour, and pupillary light reflex.
The results of the study show that reading on both display types is good and very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. Participants did not have more visual fatigue when reading on a tablet than when reading on an E-ink device. We concluded from this study that it is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that is crucial for reading. The study shows that compared to the visual display units of past decades, recent electronic displays allow good and comfortable reading, even for extended time periods.
A few critical remarks still need to be made though. This laboratory study was conducted under artificial light conditions. Therefore it is unclear if an experiment under daylight conditions would lead to the same results. Another interesting question is how the sleep quality is influenced by different display technologies.
But still, the result of the study is an important novelty in reading research, and is opposed to many statements from publishers and subjective user self tests, that have stated that tablets are not appropriate for reading over a long period of time.
More information on the study is available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x/abstract
Siegenthaler, E., Bochud, Y., Bergamin, P. and Wurtz, P. (2012), Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 32: 367–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x

Beyond the Kindle: what the future holds for E Ink [TechRadar, Sept 10, 2012]

IN DEPTH Ereaders for classrooms, smart locks and dual screen smartphones on the cards

The ereader market has been tripling in volume since 2007 but not this year,” explained Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s chief marketing officer, to TechRadar.
“It is partly to do with tablets but the biggest reason is that the economy is off at the moment… we have also seen not as many product launches as last year and the year before.”
“We believe that E Ink will come to home appliances. We are thinking differently – we want E Ink on every surface.
“There are a lot of dumb surfaces around and by adding the E Ink technology we can transform them, by adding a display and making them smart.
“We are going to keep going in that direction, enhancing products. Whether it is animated shelf labels, USB keys… drills.”
“We create a lot of these concepts and some of them go nowhere, while some are picked up” – the company continues to create prototypes to show how versatile E Ink technology can be.
It also seems that sometimes an E Ink device created for one specific market may take on a wholly different guise when it is finally released in the wild.

E Ink, now available in lock form

“One concept that was picked up but not how we originally intended was our E Ink lock,” said Peruvemba.
“This was originally pitched as a bicycle lock, where it could tell you if your bike was locked properly or not. It’s very low powered, just an E Ink display with a hole in the middle. But it just didn’t get picked up; no one in the bicycle world wanted it.”
“And then a company called InVue decided to take it on and use it for cabinet displays, it’s virtually indestructible so no more broken keys – alleviating a problem that retailers have with their cabinets.”
White lightning
This move away from ereaders doesn’t mean that E Ink is not innovating in the market it continues to dominate.
The latest kindle to be launched, the Kindle Paperwhite, shows that E Ink can compete with tablets when it comes to display.
Using E Ink’s Pearl technology and LED lighting it means you can use your Kindle in the dark, but still offer a screen that’s easier on the eyes – something tablets just can’t do.

E Ink makes smartphones smarter

One final place where we could see an E Ink screen is on the back of a mobile phone. Again, it’s E ink’s mantra of making a ‘dumb’ space smart. According to Peruvemba an additional screen on a mobile could be exactly what consumers need.
“Most of these mobile phones have nothing going on on the back.
“We can add another display at low cost on the back of the device and offer things like clocks, stock information.”
Peruvemba also hinted: “There are vendors looking into this technology – it is very new but typically we should see this type of concept come within the year.”
Looks like the world is going to be E Ink stained for some time to come.

E Ink Booth Tour at SID 2012 [EInkSeeMore, the official YouTube channel of E Ink, June 20, 2012]

E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba shows new products and concepts from E Ink and their partners, including traffic lights, crosswalks, kayak and bike computers, and various signage.

E Ink at IFA 2012 [Charbax YouTube channel, Aug 31, 2012]

Sriram Peruvemba of E Ink shows the latest demonstrations for the use of E Ink on devices and signage around the world. The backs of smartphones and tablets can be an E Ink screen.

E-Ink concept double-display smartphone hands-on [SlashGear, Aug 31, 2012]

… What could a twin-screen smartphone of this sort be used for? E Ink has a few ideas, though is leaving most of that to OEMs. An ereader app is the obvious choice, though you could also show a digital boarding pass for a plane (even if you had no battery life remaining on your phone to drive the regular screen), QR codes, or mapping directions. Alternatively, the panel could be used to show promotional information, such as vouchers for nearby stores, or even sponsored messages in return for free call, message and data credit. …

E INK ANNOUNCES 2011 FINANCIAL REPORT [E Ink Holdings press release, Feb 22, 2012] Company also launches new website, www.einkgroup.com to encompass all E Ink companies

… In 2011 consolidated sales revenues totaled NT$ 38.43 billion [US$1.3 billion], a growth of 53% as compared to 2010. Profit after-tax totaled NT $6.53 billion [US$220.85 million] and EPS totaled NT$6.05, a growth of 59 percent as compared to 2010. … Scott Liu, the chairman of E Ink, said, “… in 2012 we expect to strengthen our competitiveness and continue development of both flexible and color ePaper technologies. Additionally, we expect a customer to launch a high-resolution product with touch technology within this year.”

As to market development, Liu said, “in addition to the eReader market, we are also actively expanding into the education and business markets. …”

Today E Ink also announced the launch of a new global website, www.einkgroup.com, which provides product, technology and operational information for all of the companies under the E Ink umbrella.

Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink Holdings, said: “As our businesses expand and products become diversified, we are keenly aware of the importance of integrating our internal resources globally. This is why we decided to launch einkgroup.com as the portal of E Ink Holdings around the globe. This website provides information of product and technology of E Ink Holdings, in which browsers can easily find the information they need.”

Visitors to the site will find a consolidated location to browse the technology, product offerings and company backgrounds for the organizations under the E Ink Holdings umbrella. The site will host the Investor Relations portal for E Ink Holdings, as well as sales and marketing information. In addition to their inclusion in the new website, product line websites, such as www.eink.com and www.hydis.com will continue to host information particular to their technologies and job offerings.

Shares of E Ink under pressure amid market uncertainty [Focus Taiwan of the CNA, Feb 23, 2011]

“Despite record high earnings for 2011, E Ink’s gross margin has been squeezed by price cuts by the Kindle series of e-paper devices of Amazon, which is the largest customer of the Taiwanese firm,” Mirae Asset Management analyst Arch Shih said.

“With market uncertainty expected to continue to impact product prices, I am afraid that E Ink’s profit margin will keep falling in the first quarter of this year,” he said.

In the fourth quarter of last year, E Ink’s gross margin fell 6.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent, while it posted NT$1.28 billion in net profit, or NT$1.19 per share, down from NT$2.08 recorded in the third quarter.

… “Amazon has tried its best to stage a price war in a bid to grasp a larger market share, and at the same time, it has cut contract production fees to its suppliers like E Ink,” Shih said. “This development has imposed a pressing threat to E Ink’s operations.”

“Share prices tend to reflect forward-looking prospects, so it was no surprise to see investors dumping the stock,” he went on.

E Ink said it has become very cautious about its earnings outlook for 2012 and that it is possible its sales and profit will see the largest challenge of the year in the first quarter due to slow-season effects.

Shih said the global EPD market is suffering a failure to expand content to attract buyers and that the problem is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

“I doubt E Ink will have a quick turnaround after the first quarter. Its share price is expected to continue to be pressured,” Shih said.

E Ink reports 33.26% earnings decline [Taipei Times, Feb 23, 2011]

… The decline in profit was because of the higher shipments of fringe field switching (FFS) LCD panels, which offer lower margins than the company’s flagship product — e-paper — E Ink chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said at an investors’ conference yesterday. …

Liu said this year would be a “challenging year full of uncertainties,” mainly because of the possible fallout from the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.

“Clients are conservative and said the market visibility is low,” he said, adding that E Ink would no longer provide shipment targets or projections in a response to clients’ requests.

E Ink posts EPS of over NT$6 in 2011 [DIGITIMES, Feb 23, 2012]

EIH plans to launch its next-generation color e-paper products in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company currently does not have plans to ramp up its capacity for color EPD products, Liu said.

The company is also developing flexible e-paper products, using plastic substrates instead of glass substrates used previously, with new products to be released in the third or fourth quarter, Liu revealed.

Amazon 6″ color Kindle will not be arriving this year [übergizmo, Feb 21, 2012]

Just yesterday we reported that according to Digitimes, Amazon is supposedly working on a 6” Kindle e-reader that will be utilizing colored e-ink. This rumor supposedly came about based on reports that E Ink Holdings had landed an order from Amazon for 6” color e-reader modules, but Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who’s had a pretty decent track record when it comes to these rumors, doesn’t seem to think so.

According to Nate who contacted his source at E Ink, this is completely untrue. His source told him that if Amazon were indeed planning a color e-reader, they would only be able to start shipping them in a year’s time, because that would be how long it would take Amazon to set up a new production line for this rumored device.

He also revealed that while E Ink has been making the Triton screens for years, it has mainly been the 9.7” model and not one in the 6” variety like the rumors had suggested and can be found in the Ectaco Jetbook Color. For now it looks like if you had hopes for a 6” color Amazon Kindle e-reader this year, you could be out of luck but we’ll be keeping our eyes open either way.

End of updates

EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.

EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.

At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]

So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.

Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].

The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:

“Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp.E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”


When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:

“The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”


And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:

E Ink On Every Smart Surface [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

Exclusive 17-minute interview with E Ink’s CMO at CES, where they showed me a Triton color display for signage with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. I also saw the SURF display used in a hand drill which has not been filmed before. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson. The Triton color display based Ectaco eReader that had just won the CES innovation award, it is being deployed in Russian schools. New E Ink watches from Phosphor and Seiko. Finally, the Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched this week was demonstrated, it is considered to be indestructible. E Ink has shipped over 25 million E Ink screens for e-readers alone in 2011, that’s up from 10 million screens in 2010 and 4 million screens in 2009. Now E Ink is also working to expand into new markets, signage, appliances, everywhere. The idea is that more and more devices and surfaces may get an E Ink screen on them that thus by being bi-stable can show the informations for a long time without using any battery. While many electronic paper technology companies show samples, E Ink is actually in mass production with monochrome, color and segmented displays and they claim that no technology in the world comes close to the reading experience on E Ink’s displays and these displays are easy on the eyes since they don’t have a shiny background or light emitting backlight.

The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:

  1. Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
  2. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
  3. With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
  4. Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
  5. Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
  6. Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
  7. The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
  8. A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
  9. Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
  10. A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
  11. For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.

After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:

    • Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
  • E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
    E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you See, the more you Do
    • … Evolution is a collaborative process …
    • We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
    • We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
    • We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
  • The Second Law of More – Growth:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
    • 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
    • today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
    • Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
    • The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
    • Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
  • The Third Law of More – Green:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
    • Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
    • E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
    • Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
    • A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
    • This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …

Also important to see E Ink’s video about:
How E Ink Works [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Oct 17, 2011]

Ever wonder how your eReader screen works? The ePaper display is made with E Ink, which is basically black and white particles inside small microcapsules. Watch to learn how E Ink technology works!

As well as another video about:
E Ink Color Triton technology [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Sept 23, 2011]

Watch to learn about E Ink Triton, the only commercially available color electronic paper display, and see how E Ink technology works!

Finally there are two important electronic paper product demos:
E Ink Electronic Paper Display Products [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba explains E Ink products – electronic paper displays. The displays are both monochrome (Pearl) and color (Triton), up to 300dpi high resolution, and in several sizes.

E Ink Products/Concepts Tour at FPD [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

E Ink Director of Product Management Giovanni Mancini takes us on a tour at the 2011 FPD show in Yokohama, Japan. He shows us the new all plastic eReader, E Ink and LED road sign, Epson music stand with foot pedals that turn the page, and Toppan E Ink tags that update without batteries!

Then comes:
Ectaco jetBook Color on Fox News [ECTACO YouTube channel, Jan 24, 2012]

An edited clip showing the jetBook Color on Fox News at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas. The jetBook Color was the CES 2012 Innovations Award winner.

ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]

PLEASE TURN ON CC [Red] FOR ENGLISH CAPTIONS Introduction of Ectaco’s groundbreaking new jetBook Color in in Public School #239, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Презентация первой в мире электронной книги ECTACO jetBook COLOR в рамках проекта “О переходе на электронное образование” в школе №239, города Санк-Петербурга, Россия. Учитель и ученики делятся своими впечатлениями от полученного опыта.

William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:

Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]

Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.

Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]

E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.

Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.

The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.

The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.

Qualcomm added a superior to its mirasol, but also MEMS display technology for its upcoming US$1B fab–UPDATE: Plans on Hold–UPDATE2: Sharp is involved

Suggested preliminary reading: Qualcomm mirasol display technology delivered [Nov 22, 2011]

Updates: Capital Alliance with Qualcomm, Inc. and Display Technology Development Agreement with its Subsidiary Pixtronix, Inc. [Sharp press release, Dec 4, 2012]

Sharp Corporation (hereafter “Sharp”) today announced that the Company has reached an agreement with Pixtronix Inc. (hereafter Pixtronix), asubsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (hereafter “Qualcomm”, NASDAQ: QCOM), concerning the development of Pixtronix’s MEMS*1 displays. In addition, Sharp signed the capital alliance agreement and will issue new shares by a third party allotment (hereafter “This Third Party Allotment”) with Qualcomm Incorporated, a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, as the allottee.

MEMS display to be developed jointly by the two companies is a display using ultrafine process technology and existing display manufacturing infrastructure with features including high color reproducibility and low-power consumption. The development for commercialization of MEMS display will be achieved by integrating Sharp’s core display technology, IGZO*2 and MEMS display technology of Pixtronix.

In addition, Sharp is planning to accept up to 9.9 billion yen*3 from Qualcomm in equity investment to pursue this joint development. This capital will be used for the development of MEMS display and necessary capital investments related thereto targeting for the achievement of the technology for commercialization.

With this agreement, the two companies will consider the possibility of further collaboration of chipsets by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated and IGZO-based display technology for lower power consumption and higher performance of mobile terminals.

With this agreement, Sharp will accelerate its strategy for growth in small- to medium- sized LCD business with IGZO-based display technology as its core, and expand its revenue and corporate value.

*1  MEMS: Micro Electro Mechanical Systems

*2  IGZO: IGZO (InGaZnO) is an oxide comprising indium (In), gallium (Ga), and zinc (Zn). A thin-film transistor using this material has been developed by Sharp in collaboration with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. (a company based in Kanagawa, Japan, and led by President Shunpei Yamazaki)

*3  Equivalent to 120 million U.S. dollars calculated by exchange rate of December 3, 2012

Summary of the joint development and capital alliance

1. Development for the Commercialization of Next Generation Display

  • The next generation display will be jointly developed integrating Sharp’s IGZO-based display technology and Pixtronix’s MEMS display technology. The joint development will establish facilities in the LCD panel plant in Sharp Yonago Corporation (location: Yonago city, Tottori prefecture, Japan) for development of the technology for commercialization.
  • The development for next generation displays and necessary investment will begin immediately. At the point when the development of the technology for commercialization is confirmed to be feasible, we will move to the next stage by implementation of equipment targeting to achieve mass production technology.

2. This Third Party Allotment
Sharp will issue new shares by third party allotment with Qualcomm as the allottee by each stage of joint development of the technology for commercialization. The second stage is contingent upon achieving certain milestones.

<Notice Regarding the Execution of Capital/Business Alliance Agreement with Qualcomm (US Company) for the Joint Development of Next Generation MEMS Display and the Issue of New Shares by Third Party Allotment (PDF:83KB)>

(Related post: Sharp-er Hon Hai / Foxconn [March 31, 2012])

Q&A: Qualcomm’s Display Ambitions [The Wall Street Journal, 10, Dec, 2012]

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Qualcomm’s Chief Marketing Officer Anand Chandrasekher and John Stefanac, president of Qualcomm’s Southeast Asia and Pacific operations, to get an update on the company’s efforts in expanding into the display business. The following interview has been edited.

WSJ: Tell us the rationale behind investing in Sharp. How can this investment help Qualcomm make further inroads into displays?

Mr. Chandrasekher: Our unit, Pixtronix Inc., has had a joint relationship with Sharp from a development standpoint and we are just intensifying this further. Sharp has had a history of great display technologies and they still have a great portfolio. This agreement is a deepening of that relationship.  In the process, we are taking an equity investment of up to $120 million broken up into two tranches of roughly equal sizes. The first tranche will happen by the end of this year and the second tranche will probably close in the second quarter of next year.

WSJ: Qualcomm announced in 2010 that it was investing in Mirasol displays by setting up a manufacturing plant in Taiwan. Are you producing these displays at the factory now?

Mr. Chandrasekher: We still have the fab in Taiwan and we are still investing in Mirasol. But it’s fair to say that we have reduced the rate at which we invest in Mirasol. Some of these technologies, if you don’t manufacture in reasonable scale, you don’t learn and you can’t prove it. So the plant is still being used in that regard. Whether it goes further, we’re not ready to talk about that. We are talking about using Mirasol as more of a licensing enabler, if you will.

WSJ:  How would Mirasol be different from the MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) displays using Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology?

Mr. Chandrasekher: They are both MEMS-based technology. Mirasol has different characteristics and they are complementary. But they would have other applications and how they would get used in products. The Taiwan plant is being used as a pilot facility to help us to prove out the Mirasol technology. Under the partnership, we would assume Sharp will make the displays.

WSJ: Would you consider discontinuing Mirasol production?

Mr. Stefanac: We certainly aren’t stopping our investment in Mirasol. We will continue the intellectual property that we will license to others.

Reflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]

The summer of 2012 was an eventful one for the reflective, low-power industry. Two major players made announcements that may be difficult to interpret right now, but certainly indicate changes ahead. In July, Qualcomm, maker of the mirasol low-power MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) reflective technology, announced that it would begin licensing that technology. And in August, E Ink Holdings, which makes the E Ink on which the majority of e-Readers are built, announced that it planned to acquire Sipix Technology, Inc., a developer of microcup technology-based electrophoretic displays.
For some time, mirasol has been considered a possible contender to E Ink’s ubiquitous electrophoretic technology. One of the main reasons that Qualcomm’s announcement came as a surprise was that the chipset maker has been vigorously researching, developing, and promoting mirasol for several years, and is currently building a mirasol display factory in Taiwan. A quick survey of technology bloggers shows the general consensus is that Qualcomm may be going in a different direction with mirasol, which began appearing in e-Readers in 2011. Mirasol can show color and video, but somewhat like color EPD to date, the color is not bright and crisp, but muted.
So what’s going on with mirasol? According to an article by The Verge’s Adi Robinson, who notes that Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs spoke of licensing next-gen mirasol display technology and directly commercializing certain mirasol products: “This doesn’t necessarily mean the mirasol line will be discontinued, but it’s clearly being scaled back, and it’s possible that this is effectively the end for Qualcomm’s own production.” At press time, Qualcomm representatives said they were not commenting on the announcement or plans for the factory in Taiwan.

QUALCOMM Incorporated Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, July 18, 2012]

Paul E. Jacobs – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:
With respect to QMT, we’re now focusing on licensing our next-generation mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain mirasol products. We believe that this strategy will better align our updated roadmap with the addressable opportunities.

Question-and-Answer Session

I just wanted to say also we’re obviously investing a lot in QMT. We’re looking at the opportunities to — on that business model to reduce some of the expenses that we have there. And so that could have a pretty significant impact as well [on OpEx].

Updated: Qualcomm: No Launch Date in Sight For New 4.3″ Screen (video), Factory Delayed Until 2013 [The Digital Reader, June 6, 2012]

Do you know that new factory which Qualcomm is building in Taiwan, the one which was going to produce Mirasol screens and was supposed to be up and running by now? Yeah, that one. I was told yesterday by Bruce Lidl [PR manager of QMT] that the factory is not due to start operation until sometime in 2013, and that means we won’t see consumer products using screens made there until late in 2013 at best.

Right now Qualcomm is making the Mirasol screens on a smaller production line, and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t have the capacity to make enough screens for a major partner. The last info I got from my source at Pocketbook, Qualcomm’s still unconfirmed European partner, was that Pocketbook’s Mirasol based device was on hold because they couldn’t get enough screens.

Kyobo Mirasol eReader Now on Clearance – 71% Off [The Digital Reader, July 6, 2012]

Kyobo Book Centre, South Korea’s leading bookseller, has recently put their Mirasol eReader on sale at a drastic discount. I’m still waiting for confirmation from Kyobo or Qualcomm, but it looks to me like this ereader is on the way out. That’s great; neither the software nor the screen techwere worth the original retail, which was more than $300 USD.

The price posted above is 99,000 won, or about $87 USD. That’s a considerable discount off the original 350,000 won, and it leaves little doubt that this ereader is headed for the scrapheap.

End of updates

Qualcomm buys MEMS display startup, reportedly for $175M [EE Times, Jan 25, 2012]

Communications technology company Qualcomm Inc. has bought fabless MEMS display startup Pixtronix Inc. Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) confirmed the purchase but did not give any details and declined to discuss the price. However, reportedly, Qualcomm has paid between $175 million and $200 million.

Pixtronix (Andover, Mass.) was founded in 2005 by Nesbitt Hagood, chief technology officer. The company has developed a low-cost display technology based on the use of MEMS shutters that it appears would make a useful complement – or better alternative – to Qualcomm’s own MEMS-based Mirasol display technology.

The Pixtronix display – called PerfectLight – is based on a MEMS-based digital micro shutter that modulates light from an RGB LED backlight. A high switching speed makes it suitable for applications ranging from full-speed video to e-reader operation and Pixtronix claimed that the display offered greater than 170 degree viewing angles, more than 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 24-bit color depth at one quarter of the power consumption of equivalent size and resolution liquid crystal displays.

The display is not in the market place yet but Pixtronix had developed a 5-inch diagonal display prototype with Chimei Innolux Corp. (CMI), a leading TFT-LCD manufacturer. Pixtronix was also developing a display for Hitachi.

Meanwhile, at about the same time Qualcomm was acquiring Pixtronix, Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. announced that a 5.7-inch Mirasol MEMS display technology is used in the Kyobe e-reader. Qualcomm acquired the Mirasol technology when it paid approximately $170 million in cash for the 86 percent of Iridigm Display Corp. that it did not already own.

The Mirasol display is reflective, which means it can save power by making use of ambient light and not requiring a backlight. However, it also means that the display is less bright and visually appealing than an emissive display.

Since its formation Pixtronix had raised more than $53 million in funding from such investors as Atlas Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures and GoldHill Capital. It had about 50 employees and continues to operate as a subsidiary of Qualcomm at present.

Qualcomm acquires Pixtronix, Andover company developing tech for low-power displays [The Bioston Globe, Scott Kirsner, Dec 1, 2011]

San Diego-based Qualcomm, a major developer and licensor of mobile technology, quietly scooped up Pixtronix last week. The Andover company, founded in 2005, has been working on multimedia display screens for phones, tablets, and laptops that would use just one-quarter of the power of today’s liquid crystal displays. With today’s mobile devices, the display is typically the component that uses the most power.

Pixtronix and Qualcomm had been pursuing different approaches to low-power displays, according to this 2009 New York Times piece, but both incorporated MEMS (microelectro-mechanical system) technology; in Pixtronix’s case, thousands of tiny shutters control the light emitted by LED bulbs.

Pixtronix had raised just north of $50 million in funding from investors like Atlas Venture of Cambridge and Silicon Valley based Kleiner Perkins. Neither Qualcomm nor Pixtronix would comment on the acquisition price, but sources close to the deal tell me it was in the neighborhood of $175 million to $200 million.

Pixtronix has 45 employees, and Mark Halfman, the company’s senior director of business development, says they’ll remain in Andover. “We’ll continue to focus on developing and licensing our technology,” Halfman says. The company’s technology isn’t yet in the market, Halfman says, but the company has announced joint development projects with companies like Hitachi Displays and Taiwan-based CMI. Halfman says that Pixtronix CEO Tony Zona plans to stick around. (One year is always a safe bet…)

Pixtronix CEO Anthony Zona touts low-energy display tech [Boston Business Journal, Sept 2, 2011]

How does this technology differ from LCD?

It’s digital. So we’re moving from analog display, which is LCD, is to a digital display. … Because it’s digital, it can adapt to application needs. So in an e-reader type application it can consume extremely low power, or almost no power. That same display on the fly can change to accommodate full-motion, high-speed video.

This could have implications for the batteries of mobile devices?

You can get at least four times the current battery life — you’ll get days of use, just because the display is different. Right now the display on most smart phones consumes more than half the battery life. …

Mobile display firm Pixtronix seeking $20M round [Boston Business Journal, Aug 19, 2011]

… Pixtronix is already working with Hitachi, Samsung and Chimei Innolux, which are licensing the company’s PerfectLight Display technology for planned mobile products. The first products from the customers could include smart phones and tablets, and are expected in early 2013, Zona said.

The fourth partner for Pixtronix will also be an Asian electronics maker, and is expected to announce the partnership in the fourth quarter of this year, Zona said. “We had planned on having three partners at this point in time, and actually are adding a fourth sooner than we expected,” he said. …

Pixtronix closes $19 million equity round [Boston Business Journal, Dec 29, 2009]

… and may have brought in a major cell phone maker as a new strategic investor … The company did not disclose the names of the recent round’s investors. However … disclosed the names of four board members. … Two of those directors … represent returning investors Atlas Venture and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Beyers … A third, Gerald Fine, is a Boston University professor who holds an advisory position on the board.

Besides Atlas and Kleiner, its investors include Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures, and Gold Hill Capital.

The fourth board member is Bill Byun, a new addition to Pixtronix’ board. The documents do not identify Byun beyond his name — but Bill Byun is also the name of a California-based managing director at Samsung Venture Capital, the venture investing arm of Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

New displays for e-readers – Read all about it [The Economist, Technology Quarterly: Q4 2009, Dec 10, 2009]]

Another micro-electro-mechanical display comes from a start-up called Pixtronix. Instead of reflecting ambient light, its PerfectLight technology uses tiny shutters that open and close quickly to allow through light from a backlight composed of red, blue and green light-emitting diodes. LCD displays also use shutters, in effect, consisting of liquid-crystal elements whose polarisation can be changed to block light or let it pass. The trouble is that liquid-crystal shutters absorb over 90% of the light passing through them, even when they are open. PerfectLight’s technology allows as much as 60% of the light through. And its shutters can switch fast enough (up to 1,000 times per second) for video.

Pixtronix micro-shutter MEMS display consumes much less power [Jan 1, 2011]

Compared to conventional thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal (TFT LCD) or active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays, a new digital micro-shutter (DMS) display from Pixtronix (Andover, MA) consumes one-quarter of the power while delivering equivalent image quality.

Using standard TFT LCD manufacturing equipment, processes, and materials, a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) shutter is built on top of an active backplane and a simple aperture plate replaces the color filter.

Essentially, the DMS technology is made of four key elements: a digital micro-shutter (laterally translating) element at the heart of each pixel that uses a patented zipping actuator; the use of field-sequential color with color-change frequencies greater than 1 kHz to avoid flicker or color breakup; an optical architecture with a light-recycling LED backlight that allows an 11.5% aperture-ratio display to transmit 60% of the light to the viewer (10 times the output of liquid-crystal displays); and a digital-backplane circuit. Pixtronix has announced partnerships with both Hitachi Displays (Japan) and Chimei Innolux (Taiwan) and has developed 2.5 in. QVGA display prototypes that can run 60 Hz videos, achieve a 135% NTSC color gamut, have a 170° viewing angle and 24 bit color, and consume less than 50 mW of backlight power.

Pixtronix and Hitachi Displays Announce Successful Joint Development [Pixtronix press release, Oct 4, 2010]

Displays built based upon Pixtronix PerfectLight MEMS display technology to be demonstrated at CEATEC

Pixtronix, Inc., an innovator in the development and licensing of low power multimedia display technologies, today announced the successful joint development with Hitachi Displays, Ltd. of its PerfectLight low power MEMS display technology for mobile multimedia applications. The two companies recently completed the development of prototype displays, which leverage the Pixtronix proprietary technology and were built by Hitachi Displays. These displays will be demonstrated by Hitachi Displays at CEATEC Japan, the cutting edge IT and electronics exhibition, October 5-9, Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Japan.

“We are pleased to have jointly developed displays with Hitachi Displays that directly address the needs of high growth markets ranging from next generation smart phones to tablets,” said Tony Zona, CEO of Pixtronix. “Our rapid progress in delivering full speed video, ultra-low power displays built utilizing existing LCD manufacturing infrastructure demonstrates the key strengths of our PerfectLight display platform.”

About the Pixtronix PerfectLight Display Technology
The PerfectLight display is an innovative low-power multimedia display for portable devices, achieving 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, 170-degree viewing angles, and 100 microsecond shutter response times; all with a 75% power reduction over LCD displays. In addition, this new class of display offers Application Agility to dynamically optimize image quality and power consumption for all applications, ranging from full speed video to e-reader operation in a single device. The PerfectLight display is based upon Pixtronix’s Digital Micro Shutter MEMS technology, which is built within LCD infrastructure and eliminates liquid crystals, polarizers and color filters to enable a highly efficient, programmable, and durable display.

About Hitachi Displays, Ltd.
On October 1, 2002, the Display Group of Hitachi, Ltd. split from its parent company to form Hitachi Displays, Ltd. With a head office in Tokyo, Japan, Hitachi Displays specializes in all stages of the production of display devices, from planning to development, design, manufacturing and sales.

About Pixtronix, Inc.
Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS, the Pixtronix mission is to develop, license and market the perfect display for today’s multimedia lifestyle. The company’s PerfectLight displays combine the best image quality at the lowest power consumption for all applications and are designed to scale from mobile devices to desktop displays through HD televisions. Pixtronix’s investors include Atlas Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and DAG Ventures. For more information, visit www.pixtronix.com.

Hitachi MEMS Shutter Display: DigInfo [Diginfonews Technology from Japan, Oct 24, 2010]

Qualcomm Acquires Pixtronix [Display Daily, Dec 7, 2011]

Qualcomm has recently acquired Pixtronix, the Boston area-designer of a MEMS-based flat panel display for low-power mobile applications. This makes the second MEMS-based display company Qualcomm has acquired. In 2004 it bought Iridigm Display Corporation’s IMod technology, now called Mirasol.

This seems to have been a stealth acquisition and neither company has issued a press release on the transaction, so details are not certain yet. I guess it is no surprise Jignesh Gandhi, Director of Product Engineering at Pixtronix, did not discuss the pending acquisition when he talked to the SID on November 10th. Instead, he talked about Pixtronix technology and the company’s three licensees, Hitachi, Samsung and Chimei Innolux (CMI). While these companies have all demonstrated the technology, none are expected to have a product on the market for at least a year.

The news appears to have been revealed in a December 1st article by Boston Globe Columnist Scott Kirsner. The price is reportedly in the $175M – $200M range, although that hasn’t been confirmed. To date, Pixtronix has been financed by venture capital, with investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Atlas Venture and Samsung Ventures, to the tune of about $50M. Before the acquisition, Pixtronix had been looking at another round of VC funding of about $20M. I guess those plans have been dropped.

Qualcomm is spending about $1B to construct a display manufacturing factory, which is expected to begin production next year. While this production line was, presumably, originally intended for the Mirasol technology, it should be able to manufacture the Pixtronix display as well. Gandhi had said the Pixtronix display could be made on normal direct view LCD fabs, as can the Mirasol display. So presumably if both the Mirasol and Pixtronix technologies fail to take off (not likely, in Insight Media’s opinion) the company can use the new fab to make conventional LCD for mobile applications.

Qualcomm: The Rest of the Story [Display Daily, Dec 8, 2011]

Yesterday in Display Daily my colleague Matt Brennesholtz discussed the acquisition of Pixtronix by Qualcomm. He asked why a chip-maker would want even one (much less two) MEMS display technologies and insightfully speculated, “Perhaps Qualcomm wants to be able to offer its customers vertically integrated solutions for handsets and other mobile devices.”

Here’s the rest of the story, or at least another piece of it. In late November, the Kyobo Book Centre of Korea (the country’s largest bookseller) announced the Kyobo eReader (photo), the first eReader to use Qualcomm’s mirasol color reflective MEMS display. The display appears to be the same 5.7-inch, XGA (1024 x 768) display Qualcomm MEMS Technologies (QMT) has been showing us for the last couple of years. The MSRP is the equivalent of slightly over US$300, which is solidly in tablet, not simple eReader, territory.

The Kyobo device uses a customized version of Android 2.3 and supports WiFi 802.11b/g/n. But here’s where things get interesting (and why I think Matt was so insightful yesterday). The Kyobo’s smarts come from a Qualcomm 1.0-GHz Snapdragon S2 processor. Between the mirasol display and the Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm can indeed offer the key components of a color eReader kit.

Qualcomm is still making its mirasol displays on a pilot line, so it can only support low-volume customers. Kyobo was identified as falling into that category. A high-volume plant is under construction and scheduled to ramp up in 2012.

At SID 2011, I told Qualcomm Marketing Manager Jesse Burke that the very long gestation period between the demonstration of a credible Mirasol display and the first commercial adoption was creating doubts about the technology. This was obviously not the first time Burke had to answer that question, and he had a well-prepared answer. First, he said, Qualcomm had some design wins, but before the customers could go into production, two things happened. The first was the introduction of the original iPad; the second was the continuing Great Recession. Both caused serious reconsideration of new-product introductions. In particular, many products that seemed cutting-edge before the introduction of the iPad, seemed immediately out of date afterwards.

Second, because Qualcomm only had a pilot line facility for the mirasol, the company was limited in the kind of customers it could pitch in the short term. To Burke’s credit, he told me to expect a low-volume product to appear before the end of 2011, and high-volume products to appear in 2012. With the Kyobo eReader, the first half of his prediction has come true.

Along with Matt, I don’t pretend to know how things will play out with Pixtronic and Mirasol under one roof. But I will express an opinion about relative technical merit. The Mirasol technology is devilishly clever, but it has shortcomings (such as an insufficiently saturated red that appears to be an unavoidable feature of the technology). In general, these shortcomings didn’t look all that serious two or three years ago, when the only competition was an electrophoretic technology with slow switching speed without practical color, and Mirasol’s strengths were compelling. But time moves on. To me, Pixtronix now seems to be the more compelling (and probably the more manufacturable) technology. It will be interesting to find out what Qualcomm thinks.

Really Truly New Stuff at SID 2011 [Display Daily, May 19, 2011]

… In the Samsung booth, you could see electro-wetting prototypes. Samsung bought the company that was formerly Liquavista … Next to what I still can’t help calling the Liquavista displays, were two impressive Pentile displays developed through the remarkably productive relationship between Samsung and Nouvoyance. … The other display is hard to explain briefly. Nouvoyance’s Candice Brown Elliott tried, … The result is a FSC display with no color break-up, a 130% color gamut, and sharply reduced power consumption.

Nearby was a 10.1-inch MEMS display based on Pixtronix technology. (10.1-inch is a popular size this year.) Both Samsung and Pixtronix personnel said the roadmap calls for a commercial eReader/tablet display in 2013. Hitachi is also working with the technology. Mark Halfman of Pixtronix said Hitachi is working on a cell-phone version, hopefully for late 2012 introduction.

Samsung was also showing a prototype 70-inch ultra-definition (3840×2160) 2D/3D panel oxide TFT backplane technology. …

Pixtronix Announces a Partner [Display Daily, Nov 10, 2010]

Every year at about this time, Mark Halfman emails me to arrange a meeting at Flat Panel Display International (FPDI) in Japan and, incidentally, make sure that Pixtronix hasn’t fallen off my radar screen.

The problem is that it takes so long to develop even the most interesting new display technologies that a professional display watcher can get jaded before a technology he is tracking reaches commercialization. A diligent marketing guy like Halfman makes sure that analysts don’t forget and move on to something else.

Last year, Pixtronix showed convincing technology demonstrators at FPDI. Halfman told me then that the company had “engaged” — a wonderfully ambiguous word — with several panel makers, couldn’t reveal their identities, but hoped to have an announcement before the next FPDI; that is, the one taking place this week.

Halfman was as good as his word. On Monday, his company issued a press release announcing that Chimei Innolux (CMI) and Pixtronix had recently completed the development of prototype displays that utilize Pixtronix’ proprietary technology and were built by CMI. The displays will be demonstrated at FPDI.

“With CMI, we have achieved rapid progress in delivering prototypes that demonstrate both full-speed full-color video and ultra-low power consumption. We look forward to continued joint development with CMI, and the availability of larger displays next year,” said Pixtronix CEO Tony Zona.

Unlike some other novel display technologies, the Pixtronix display, which the company calls PerfectLight, genuinely has something to offer, especially for portable devices. An easy way to think of PerfectLight is as a field-sequential-color (FSC) LCD in which the LCD sandwich is replaced with an in-plane MEMS shutter. Like an LCD, PerfectLight makes use of a “Venetian blind” architecture to control the amount of light from the backlight that reaches the viewer. Unlike an LCD, it has no polarizers and (because of the FSC) no matrix color filter. As a result, says Halfman, 60% of the light from the backlight reaches the user, compared with 6% to 8% for LCDs. This contributes to a 75% power reduction compared to LCDs.

Also, the MEMS shutter is fast: 100 microseconds, compared to milliseconds for an LCD.

Pixtronix claims a 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, and 170-degree viewing angle.

In addition, many display parameters can be adjusted to balance display quality and power consumption for different applications. For instance, full-speed color is appropriate for video, while slower-speed black-and-white is fine for e-reading, while using considerably less power.

Now that Pixtronix has a manufacturing partner with deep pockets, it will be interesting to see how long it takes to develop panels that are available to system makers in quantity — and that system makers will want to buy. That, as always, is the test.

Pixtronix and Chimei Innolux to Demonstrate Latest MEMS Displays at FPD International 2011 [Pixtronix press release, Oct 25, 2011]

Pixtronix, Inc., an innovator in the development and licensing of low power multimedia display technologies, and Chimei Innolux Corp. (CMI), a leading worldwide TFT-LCD manufacturer, today announced the successful joint development of 5-inch diagonal MEMS display prototypes. These displays, which utilize the Pixtronix proprietary MEMS technology and were built by CMI, will be demonstrated at FPD International 2011, the comprehensive exhibition and convention on Flat Panel Displays, October 26-28 in Yokohama, Japan.

The two companies previously announced jointly developed 2.5-inch diagonal prototypes at FPD International 2010. Since then, Pixtronix and CMI have worked together to build a MEMS display twice that size and four times the resolution. The new 5-inch diagonal displays offer the lowest power consumption at the best image quality for all applications, achieving over 135% NTSC color gamut, greater than 170 degree view angles, more than 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 24-bit color depth, all at a 75% average power reduction versus LCD displays. These new MEMS displays will be demonstrated by both Pixtronix and CMI (Pixtronix booth 3502 and CMI booth 3602).

“We are extremely pleased in the progress we have achieved with CMI, as the 5-inch diagonal prototypes represent a leap forward in bringing Pixtronix technology to the smart phone and tablet markets,” said Tony Zona, CEO of Pixtronix. “We look forward to continued development with CMI as we improve the performance and scale of these displays on the way to commercialization.”

“MEMS display technology is a new technology bringing additional consumer benefits to the multimedia markets and in the collaboration between CMI and Pixtronix a large step is set to industrialize this technology,” said Andre Krebbers Vice-President Mobile Device BU of CMI.

About the Pixtronix PerfectLight Display Technology
The PerfectLight display is an innovative low-power multimedia display for portable devices, achieving over 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, and 100 microsecond shutter response times; all with a 75% power reduction versus LCD displays. In addition, this new class of display offers Application Agility to dynamically optimize image quality and power consumption for all applications, ranging from full speed video to e-reader operation in a single device. The PerfectLight display is based upon Pixtronix’s Digital Micro Shutter MEMS technology, which is built within standard LCD infrastructure and eliminates liquid crystals, polarizers and color filters to enable a highly efficient, programmable display with proven MEMS reliability.

About Chimei Innolux Corp.
CMI is one of the leading worldwide manufacturers of TFT-LCD display products, including TFT-LCD panels, and total solutions for LCD TV and monitor systems. Its one-stop shopping business model vertically integrates TFT-LCD panel manufacturing expertise with systems assembly capabilities. More information about CMI is available at www.chimei-innolux.com.

About Pixtronix, Inc.
Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS, the Pixtronix mission is to develop, license and market the perfect display for today’s multimedia lifestyle. The company’s PerfectLight displays combine the best image quality at the lowest power consumption for all applications and are designed to scale from mobile devices to desktop displays through HD televisions. Pixtronix’s investors include Atlas Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. For more information, visit www.pixtronix.com.

PerfectLight and mirasol Show Displays in New Light [Jan 4, 2009]

pxtronix.jpg There are two new energy efficient display technologies on the tech horizon – Pixtronix’s PerfectLight and Qualcomm’s mirasol that shine a new light on display technology.

Pixtronix PerfectLight has an energy efficient prototype that uses thousands of very little LED lights controlled by microelectro-mechanical system (MEMS). PerfectLight uses one-fourth the energy of a an Liquid Crystal Display. PerfectLight prototypes consumed less than 50 milliwatts for the backlighting of a smartphone display while a LCD uses about 200 milliwatts.

The image is created with thousands of digitally controlled, MEMS, shutters that open and close over each pixel opening, allowing light from the red, green and blue LEDs to pass through.

Qualcomm’s technology uses natural light and MEMs in mirasol.The light for the pixels is provided by ambient light. To create an image, reflective optical structures in the MEMS (which they call IMOD), selectively reflect red, green or blue light to create an image.

The Interferometric Modulator (IMOD) element is a simple MEMS(micro-electro-mechanical system) device that is composed of two conductive plates. One is a thin film stack on a glass substrate, the other is a reflective membrane suspended over the substrate. There is a gap between the two that is filled with air.

The IMOD element has two stable states. When no voltage is applied, the plates are separated, and light hitting the substrate is reflected as shown above. When a small voltage is applied, the plates are pulled together by electrostatic attraction and the light is absorbed, turning the element black. This is the fundamental building block from which Qualcomm mirasol displays are made.

LCD 2.0 – Pixtronix’s PerfectLight DMS Display Technology [June 27, 2009]

Pixtronix's PerfectLight DMS Display Technology

Pixtronix has finished development of its new MEMS based PerfectLight DMS (Digital Micro Shutter) display technology.The display, demonstrated at this months SID Display Week 2009, delivers exactly what both consumers and manufacturers are looking for; significant energy savings (75 percent) without compromising video quality.

Pixtronix was established in 2005 and is led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems). Having completed development of a PerfectLight DMS display prototype, the company is now searching for manufacturing partners. While initially targeting smaller display sizes for portable multimedia devices, Pixtronix can scale the display sizes to suit large screen products such as HDTVs.

Pixtronix’s PerfectLight DMS (Digital Micro Shutter) display technology has been designed to combine high video quality with low power consumption for display sizes from mobile devices through to HD televisions. Performance figures include 105% (of NTSC, CIE 1931) color gamut, 24-bit color depth, 1,000:1 contrast ratio and 170 degree viewing angle with a power consumption only one quarter (25 percent) that for TFT-LCD displays.

PerfectLight DMS Gamut vs LCD

Cleverly Pixtronix’s engineers have developed their technology based on a similar architecture to that of an LCD panel (hence LCD 2.0!) except for using micro (MEMS) shutters instead of liquid crystals. The DMS display system is based on sequentially flooding the display with red, green, and blue light from LEDs while using the MEMS shutters to modulate the light and produce a full-color image. MEMS have already established their robustness and reliability in display technology through technologies such as Texas Instrument’s DLP micro mirror chips used in projectors.

PerfectLight DMS Substrate

Key Elements of DMS Display Technology

  • Digital MEMS micro shutter element at the heart of each pixel. It is a laterally translating (moving) element which is supported on a patented dual compliant zipping actuator. Use of micro shutters frees DMS displays from using the polarizers, filters and liquid crystals of current LCD display technologies. The polarizers can reduce light intensity by 50 percent and color filters reduce it even further.
  • Field Sequential Color (FSC) use is enabled by the MEMS shutters through the rapid color change frequencies of about 1kHZ (1,000 operations per second) achieved. Pixtronix have developed some innovative algorithms for achieving deep, rich colors without image artefacts.
  • Proprietary optical architecture including a light recycling backlight. Through a combination of waveguide and mirrored surfaces the light in the backlight is contained to deliver 60 percent of the light from the backlight which about 10X more output than a conventional LCD display (6 to 8 percent). This is the primary source of power consumption reduction of the DMS display technology.
  • Use of energy-efficient LED lightsources
  • A digital backplane circuit which decouples the functions of actuation and information exchange. This makes possible time division gray scale with color change frequencies in excess of 1 kHz while minimizing drive power.

From an engineering background, what impresses about Pixtronic’s new display technology is the cost savings promised by its having been designed with minimization of manufacturing costs in mind. Manufacturing can use existing TFT-LCD factory equipment and processes and higher yields can be achieved through the wide manufacturing tolerances applicable.


Take a look at Pixtronix’s video introduction to the PerfectLight Display’s impressive image quality and ultra-low power consumption.

If you would like to gain an idea of what MEMS is about have a look at this introductory video from the MEMS Industry Group. Is has some interesting shots of another MEMS display technology, DLP, in action.

MEMS Industry Group: An Introduction to MEMS [MEMSindustryGroup, Feb 8, 2008]

Using the MEMS accelerometer and the digital micromirror as an example, this DVD explores MEMS technology in a concise, easy to understand, 8.5-minute package. Examples of MEMS are given from all industries, including industrial, automotive, life sciences, and consumer electronics.

Using LCD Fabs for Non-LCD Displays? [Display Daily, May 23, 2007]

SID is where display ideas are demonstrated and evaluated. There are lots of these ideas as well as evolutionary and even revolutionary ideas floated at SID each year. It is where you will see the next big thing in the display industry or some company’s folly in pursuing a pipe dream. The key is to understand who is pitching which. Today, I will look at two of them I heard about in private meetings.

The two companies are Pixtronix and UniPixel. Both are early stage display companies with plenty of capital behind them to pursue a big dream. They want to use their technology to make LCDs obsolete, but use some of the LCD foundries to make these new displays.

Bold dreams yes, and after hearing the pitches, both actually show some merit. Can they pull it off? Time will tell.

It used to be that 20 years was required to bring a new display technology to a mainstream commercialization state. This time appears to be shrinking – and if you believe these companies, it may now be possible in 4-5 years. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but I am leaning toward the shorter rather than longer side.

So what are these new technologies, you ask? They are similar, but slightly different. Both eliminate the color filters, polarizers, liquid crystal, light management films and even the CCFL in a conventional LCD. What they have in common is an LED-driven backlight with light recycling components, a MEMS or MEMS-like modulator to extract the light at each pixel and an active matrix backplane.

Pixtronix has developed what it calls a Digital Micro Shutter (DMS). The idea is to extract light from the backlight by opening up a pixel gate. Think of this as a pair of pocket doors that open up to allow light to escape. It is an all-digital approach that uses pulse width modulation at each pixel to control grayscale.

These ideas are clever and elegant. When compared to the structure of an LCD, they will indeed eliminate a lot of components. And, both companies are targeting using LCD fabrication equipment to make these displays. With some minor adjustments, existing LCD fabs can transition to these new displays fairly easily. And they are scalable approaches for any sized display.

This all sounds marvelous – and it is quite exciting. But both companies have a lot of development work ahead of them to prove they can deliver the goods. There is a lot more to their stories that I can’t reveal, but suffice it to say that these are companies we will be tracking to see how they meet their milestones. SID 08 will again prove to be the place where dreams are made or companies are brought down to reality.

Pixel Qi finding ruggedized devices are the 2012 opportunity

In addition we have got many design wins what is the next crop of tablets and other mobile devices coming out this year. We will see how those will do against Apple and so forth.” Then: “A small fab can produce one million panels a day. … A couple of million dollars are needed to adjust the process for Pixel Qi. … A committed order of at least half million is needed to start. … We have 1st tier design wins now. We will see what will come out of that.
Mary Lou Jepsen in the very last video from Charbax (see embedded in the end)

Pixel Qi sunlight readable displays at CES 2012 [Jan 11, 2012]

Pixel Qi’s LCD displays work in direct sunlight and can be used without a backlight. Turning off the light makes the screens look nearly black and white, but cuts the screen’s power consumption by as much as 80 percent. In an Android tablet, the screen could use as much as 75 percent of the device’s power.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

The company has been showing off its display technology for the past few years, but few consumer products have shipped with Pixel Qi screens. The Notion Ink Adam tablet was available with an optional 10 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi screen, and the OLPC XO 3.0 tablet will also be available with a Pixel Qi display. But the display company has also had success with more specific markets where outdoor readable displays are a necessityrather than an option.

For instance, military tablets with GPS have been used by paratroopers who need to land on the ground and situate themselves immediately without first looking for shade. Pixel Qi has also been talking to companies interested in using sunlight readable displays in cars, trucks, tractors, and other motor vehicles.

At CES, Pixel Qi is showing off the same three screen sizes and resolutions as last year:

  • 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel

But the company has improved viewing angles and reflection. The screens still don’t have the best viewing angles around. If you look at the display from too sharp an angle, colors will wash out — but that’s not a problem that’s unique to Pixel Qi. While some high-quality devices with IPS displays can be viewed from nearly 180 angles without any loss of clarity, many other cheaper displays offer poorer viewing angles.

Coming 2012! SOL’s 7″ Android-Windows Tablet [SOL Computer, Jan 13, 2012]

Android Tablet "7

Sol Computer introduced a 10 inch Windows netbook and 10 inch Windows tablet with Pixel Qi sunlight viewable displays last year. Now the company is adding two new 7 inch modelsto its lineup, one with Google Android, and another with Windows.

Pixel Qi screens are dual-mode LCD displays which work as full-color screens when the backlight is on, or high-contrast, nearly black-and white displays with the screen off. What makes them special is that you can still see the screens even when the backlight is off, using nothing but ambient light.

Sol founder Chris Swanner says the tablets and netbooks have been popular with pilots and other professionals that work outdoors and in bright, sunlit environments where you really don’t want to have to deal with glare — and where a Windows device that can run highly specialized applications is a must.

This is a niche product though, and it costs a lot to add the Pixel Qi screens to a small number of devices. The Windows tablet has an Intel Atom processor, a capactive touchscreen, and a $1099 price tag — and Swanner says he’s not making a lot of profit at that level. But he’s selling around 20 to 30 devices a month. If volume were to go up, pricing could conceivably go down.

The two new tablets will have 7 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi displays. A prototype of the Android tablet was on-hand at the Consumer Electronics Show, but I was told that the hardware hasn’t been finalized — the plastic case may be sturdier on the final unit.

Sol Computer 7 inch Android tablet with Pixel Qi display [Jan 10, 2012]

This is a 7 inch Android tablet with a Pixel Qi screen. Final pricing and hardware specifications haven’t been finalized yet.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

Sol doesn’t have a working prototype of the new 7 inch Windows tablet yet, but Cynovo, the Chinese company Sol works with to build its tablets had a similar model with a standard 7 inch LCD display to show.

Pricing hasn’t yet been set for the new 7 inch tablets, but they’re expected to cost less than the 10 inch, $1099 model.

The New Sol Tablet PC Featuring A 10″ Sunlight Readable Display [SOL Computer, Aug 12, 2011]


Here is the latest sunlight readable Tablet PC offered by Sol Computer.com. We named it the Sol Tablet PC because it will add “some SOL to your life”. Take this Tablet PC anywhere and you will always be able to see the no glare screen display in brilliant high resolution. We have incorporated the latest Pixel Qi transflective back light technology built into our PC Tablet which provides a unique AntiGlare LED Display. Our Sol Tablet PC can be viewed perfectly in direct sunlight – no other tabletPC or IPad can make such a claim. Also, because the Sol Tablet PC has this antiglare technology built into it’s LED no glare screen, battery consumption is reduced significantly. In fact, this Win 7 Tablet PC, when viewed in full sunlight (reflective mode), LED power consumption is cut by up to 80%. This increases battery life to more than 10 hours!


Checkout our Newest Product – DryCASE Tablet™ a flexible, crystal clear waterproof case that allows complete use of your tablet or e-reader while keeping it dry and clean. The vacuum seal takes all the air out of the case so there is no way that water can enter. There can be no exchange of gas (air) for liquid (water). The vacuum seal also allows full use of your touch screen because it seal flush on the face of the tablet.

Only one tablet has been successful in the last year” [in the next video from Charbax Mary Lou Jepsen names as “the tablet from Cupertino everyone is familiar with”, i.e. Apple iPad, saying that “unfortunately we are not in that tablet”] – CFO John Ryan – from the video embedded into the article below:

Pixel Qi Shifting their Business Strategy away from Consumer Electronics [Good e-Reader, Jan 12, 2012]


Pixel Qi is well known for developing a new breed of screens that deliver an unparalleled experience in direct sunlight and draw very low power. The company has seen their technology showcased in the early One Laptop per Child program in Africa, which initially drew industry wide attention to the company. In the last year their screens were featured in various ZTE Tablets in China and recently in the Notion Ink Adam. In the last six months 3M invested heavily in the future of Pixel Qi and has influenced the direction of the company away from consumer electronics to more specialized industries, such as the military.

We have spoken with both the CFO and CEO over the years at various industry events and their decision to gravitate away from the fickle nature of e-readers and tablets was a wise decision. The company instead plans to focus their attention on specialized market segments that would benefit more from their technology and lead to more long-term contracts.

One of the first ways they will deploy their Pixel Qi technology is within the military and give soldiers a new way to receive mission data. If you look at your average paratrooper or ranger they are constantly receiving revised mission parameters and in harsh conditions like a dessert. Being in very bright environments or dark make no different with Pixel Qi, whose very essence is low-power no-glare technology which would make lives easier. Most military operations worldwide still employ maps and written communications, to receive updates to their mission requires many steps and circumstances change many times. The plan is for soldiers to have heavily versatile tablets that last for weeks and are wired into mission control to receive new updates on the fly. Another way their technology will be employed is with the hydro electric community where operators are frequently in high elevations in direct sunlight.

3M’s investment in Pixel Qi is allowing the company to deal with multiple fabs in Taiwan where the company is based and diversify their portfolio. Obviously when you receive a huge investment from a mega-corporation whose reach is all-encompassing you will receive a ton of connections within very specialized niches. 3M is found everywhere from cars, phones, hospitals, and tape. This will turn the company around and we were told in the near future their technology will be everywhere, but in products we will never see. Obviously Pixel Qi is not stepping totally away from the end user experience and they are currently dealing with a number of existing clients in future product launches. Check out our whole interview where CFO John Ryan talks to us in detail about the new direction of the company and demonstrating two new screens they brought with them to CES 2012.

We spoke with CFO John Ryan of Pixel Qi at CES 2012 where he talked about the new direction of the company, the influence of their new investor (3M) and where the company is going for the rest of the year. This is a great interview and gives you an unique prospective you can’t find anywhere but Goodereader.com

Pixel Qi at CES 2012 [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

The 1280×800 10.1″ Pixel Qi screen is ready, here it is demonstrated under bright spotlight simulating the sun as well as in some prototypes of upcoming Android tablets. Founder, CEO and inventor Mary Lou Jepsen talks about the latest news from Pixel Qi, where they are going, what they are up to.

Qualcomm mirasol display technology delivered

Follow-up: Qualcomm added a superior to its mirasol, but also MEMS display technology for its upcoming US$1B fab [Jan 26, 2012]

Updates as of July’12: QUALCOMM Incorporated Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, July 18, 2012]

Paul E. Jacobs – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:
With respect to QMT, we’re now focusing on licensing our next-generation mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain mirasol products. We believe that this strategy will better align our updated roadmap with the addressable opportunities.

Question-and-Answer Session

I just wanted to say also we’re obviously investing a lot in QMT. We’re looking at the opportunities to — on that business model to reduce some of the expenses that we have there. And so that could have a pretty significant impact as well [on OpEx].

Updated: Qualcomm: No Launch Date in Sight For New 4.3″ Screen (video), Factory Delayed Until 2013 [The Digital Reader, June 6, 2012]

Do you know that new factory which Qualcomm is building in Taiwan, the one which was going to produce Mirasol screens and was supposed to be up and running by now? Yeah, that one. I was told yesterday by Bruce Lidl [PR manager of QMT] that the factory is not due to start operation until sometime in 2013, and that means we won’t see consumer products using screens made there until late in 2013 at best.

Right now Qualcomm is making the Mirasol screens on a smaller production line, and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t have the capacity to make enough screens for a major partner. The last info I got from my source at Pocketbook, Qualcomm’s still unconfirmed European partner, was that Pocketbook’s Mirasol based device was on hold because they couldn’t get enough screens.

Kyobo Mirasol eReader Now on Clearance – 71% Off [The Digital Reader, July 6, 2012]

Kyobo Book Centre, South Korea’s leading bookseller, has recently put their Mirasol eReader on sale at a drastic discount. I’m still waiting for confirmation from Kyobo or Qualcomm, but it looks to me like this ereader is on the way out. That’s great; neither the software nor the screen techwere worth the original retail, which was more than $300 USD.

The price posted above is 99,000 won, or about $87 USD. That’s a considerable discount off the original 350,000 won, and it leaves little doubt that this ereader is headed for the scrapheap.

End of updates as of July’12

Hanvon Reveals New E-reader Design for China Market Featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol Display Technology [Qualcomm press release, Jan 10, 2012]

World’s Thinnest and Lightest Color E-reader Unveiled at CES Opening Keynote

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. (Hanvon), a leading provider of e-reader devices in China, today announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show the Hanvon C18, the thinnest and lightest e-reader to incorporate mirasol® display technology to date. The Hanvon-branded device, revealed by Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs during his opening day CES keynote, delivers a premium reading experience, a touch display, vibrant color even in bright sunlight and weeks of reading under typical usage. *

 Hanvon C18 Color E-reader featuring Qualcomm's mirasol display. World's thinnest and lightest color e-reader to be available in China market in early 2012Hanvon C18 Color E-reader featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol display. World’s thinnest and lightest color e-reader to be available in China market in early 2012

“Hanvon has chosen mirasol displays as the enabling technology that will best place the full color potential of their vast content library into the hands of their customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “This Hanvon e-reader validates customers’ evolving expectation of color as part of their e-reading experience and mirasol displays deliver an unparalleled experience.”

The Hanvon C18 e-reader includes access to tens of thousands of e-books, more than 100 Chinese newspapers and more than 300 magazines, 90 percent of which offer full-color digital editions. Hanvon’s continuing collaboration with more than 300 publishers ensures a deep and diverse stream of digital content for consumers. Additionally, the device features Hanvon’s patented handwriting recognition technology – Hanvon Input – to further enhance the user experience.

“Thinner and lighter than any color e-reader, the Hanvon C18 e-reader is a revolutionary product that Hanvon and Qualcomm are bringing to consumers,” said Mr. Liu Yingjian, president of Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. “With the exceptional mirasol display technology, it will break new ground in the e-reader industry.”

The Hanvon C18 e-reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor. Hanvon’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.

* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and integrated reading light set to 22 percent utilization

Kyobo 5.7″ eReader with Mirasol Display Walk Through by Qualcomm [Dec 14, 2011]

Unsolved Mysteries of the Kyobo eReader (Not Really) [mirasol Displays blog, Dr. Clarence Chui, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc., Dec 20, 2011]

A few weeks ago, we proudly announced the world’s first color e-reader to feature mirasol® display technology – the KYOBO eReader. We believe this announcement is the first step in changing consumer’s expectations about what an e-reader is; delivering color and interactive content, while maintaining the outdoor visibility and weeks of battery life to which they’ve become accustomed.

Since the announcement, there has been some dialogue online and I’ve had a few questions about the device, the display and its capabilities. Let me take a moment to answer some of these questions.

Battery Life:

The Kyobo eReader delivers up to three weeks of battery life, preserving an important attribute that identifies the e-reader category. Kyobo built this device to function as an e-reader and accordingly, applied the industry standard e-reader usage model (of course, those other e-readers feature black and white displays) of 30 min of use each day, WiFi Off, standby power the rest of the time – and in our case, 25% front light brightness – we’ll get to that next. These are Kyobo’s reported numbers.

Reading Light:

Our mirasol® displays work by reflecting ambient light (see how it works), and for darker environments, an integrated reading light is used (we’ve blogged on this before), and in the case of the Kyobo eReader, is controlled by an ambient light sensor. Above, we discuss how there is an assumed 25% brightness in all usage. Try not to think about this as an LCD, where “brightness” equates to the amount of light coming out of the display. Instead, this is the additional light the reading light adds to supplement the existing reflected light. My point is that the display offers visibility in both bright and dark conditions while preserving the battery life consumers expect of an e-reader.

Commercialization, Product Availability and the Korean Market:

First, as to when the product is available, it’s available now and has been on sale in Kyobo’s flagship store in Seoul since it was announced. We have made good on our promise to commercialize mirasol displays in 2011.

I want to also take a moment to talk about why Kyobo is our first customer out the door. Kyobo’s product development focused on finding a tool to enable digital education and meet the Korean consumer’s expectations for an e-reader, something black and white e-readers have not done in Kyobo’s past experience. This focus and execution on mirasol display’s precise value proposition is why Kyobo is right customer and Korea the right market to enter first. Additionally, it’s worth noting that while our current fabrication facility is capable of supporting customers of modest volume requirements, we expect higher volume customers to come into focus once our next, higher volume facility comes online later in 2012. So in the short term, we will keep focused on mostly international markets.

More information: http://www.facebook.com/mirasoldisplays?sk=wall

End of updates

Kyobo Book Center Ereader [Nov 22, 2011]

KYOBO eReader – mirasol [Nov 22, 2011]

Kyobo, Korea’s Largest Bookseller, and Qualcomm Introduce Kyobo-Branded Color E-reader Featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol Display Technology [press release, Nov 21, 2011]

SEOUL, South Korea and SAN DIEGO

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. (QMT) a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest seller of books, today announced the retail availability of the world’s first e-reader to include mirasol® display technology. Kyobo and Qualcomm have collaborated to deliver an unmatched reading experience by providing a large and diverse content portfolio spanning books, magazines and video on a touch display that features  vibrant color in bright sunlight. The device allow for weeks of reading under typical usage.*

“Kyobo is a recognized content leader focused on bringing unique and innovative experiences to its customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “Kyobo’s customers will be the first to enjoy the exceptional color e-reader experience and long battery life that only mirasol displays can provide.”

The Kyobo e-Reader includes access to Kyobo’s 90,000 ebook library, notably including early rights from Korean publisher Minumsa for the much-anticipated Steve Jobs’ exclusive biography, a full one-month before any other Korean digital outlet.  Additionally, the device features: video lecture content exclusive to EBS, a leading Korea-based provider of educational material; content sharing through Korean social networking services; English language text-to-speech capabilities; and searchable content through the popular Diotek dictionary application.

“The Kyobo e-Reader brings the user a true book reading experience,” said Mr. Seong-Ryong Kim, chief executive officer of Kyobo Book Centre. “With our diverse content and leading edge technology from Qualcomm, Kyobo Book Centre will provide a premium reading experience to our customers.”

Qualcomm mirasol technology 1st in Kyobo e-reader -- 21-Nov-2011

The Kyobo e-Reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor.  Kyobo’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.

Kyobo’s e-Reader is now available for purchase at the full retail price of KRW349,000 (US$310).  Kyobo Platinum Book Club members can purchase the e-reader at a discounted price of KRW 299,000 (US$265). Kyobo’s e-readers are available at bookstore locations across South Korea, including Kyobo’s flagship Gwanghwamun-jum location in Seoul.

* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and front light set to 25 percent utilization [?setting the backlight to 25 percent brightness?].

About Kyobo Book Centre

Kyobo Book Centre has contributed to preserving Korean culture and improving knowledge and education in Korea through its distribution of high quality books and services throughout all of Kyobo Book Centres. Beginning with the Gwanghwa-Moon branch in 1980, Kyobo Book Centre has been Korea’s leading bookstore and an icon of knowledge and education throughout the country with multiple branches and an online presence. Kyobo Book Centre aims to conserve culture, expand knowledge and create a better world for all of humanity.

About Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. has drawn on the same color-producing process that makes a butterfly’s wings shimmer to develop the revolutionary mirasol display technology. The mirasol display is the industry’s first to use interferometric modulation (IMOD); a micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology capable of creating color from ambient reflected light. Qualcomm’s mirasol displays are bi-stable, energy efficient, offer refresh rates to support interactive content and are highly reflective, allowing for superb viewing quality in a wide range of environmental conditions, including bright sunlight. With applications in a variety of mobile devices, mirasol displays support Qualcomm’s overall strategy of mobile innovation by enabling a compelling viewing experience with significantly less power.  For more information, visit the mirasol displays website, our Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

mirasol story (MEMS for the IMOD element), innovation story (biomimicry) and the mirasol subsidiary story on the mirasol displays website

Interferometric modulator display – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chipmaker partners Kyobo in e-book reader, talks with Samsung, SKT [The Korea Times, Nov 22, 2011]

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, right, and Kyobo Book Centre CEO Kim Seong-ryong unveil the bookstore’s new electronic book reader at an event in Seoul Tuesday. The companies say it is the first device to include Qualcomm’s “Mirasol” display technology, designed to feature vibrant colors in bright sunlight. / Korea Times

Qualcomm is eager to spread its business tentacles in Korea. Its involvement in developing an e-book reader tailored for Korean customers is just a dot in the bigger picture pursued by the San Diego-based chip giant, according to its CEO.

Paul Jacobs, the charismatic Qualcomm chairman, was in Seoul Tuesday to unveil a new digital reader it developed with Kyobo Book Center, the country’s largest book retailer.

The device is the first in the world to include Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology, which is designed to feature vibrant colors in sunlight, thus eliminating a key flaw that has plagued conventional e-book readers.

Jacobs, who also gave the green light to a plan last year to establish a Korea-based research and development center, said the company continues to seek business opportunities with partners here, although declined to comment specifically on the details or cost of projects currently in the pipeline.

Meeting with Korea Communications Commission (KCC) Chairman Choi See-joong earlier in the day, Jacobs expressed intentions to hire more Korean research personnel for developing telecommunications technologies.

He also met with executives from local technology giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics and mobile phone operators SK Telecom and KT to discuss mutual business interests.

Jacobs’ visit to Korea comes amid speculation that Samsung, currently the world’s top seller of smartphones, is considering using non-Qualcomm chips in its upcoming smartphones and touch screen tablets to diversify its parts sources.

“Jacobs clearly wants to reaffirm Samsung’s support of its chips and may offer better pricing for handset vendors, which also overlaps with the business interest of wireless carriers,’’ said a Samsung executive, who asked not to be named.

Qualcomm’s technologies and chips remain vital for devices that run on third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) networks.

Samsung and LG are shifting their focus from 3G-based devices to products that run on 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, which enable faster data movement.

“Jacobs checked out the development phases of tablets and smartphones that use its Snapdragon mobile processors and asked the Koreans for further cooperation,’’ said an SK Telecom official.

Aside of the Mirasol display, Kyobo’s new book reader packs the most advanced technologies Qualcomm currently offer, including its 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor.

Qualcomm could only hope that its new e-book reader would yield better results than its first Samsung-made entry in the Korean market, which tanked.

“This time will be different because Kyobo will fully manage manufacturing, sales and after-sales (AS) policies,’’ said a spokeswoman from Kyobo.

Qualcomm has been eager to find its next cash-generating sources. Under the basis, it’s been investing heavily for panels. The San Diego-based firm invested more than $1 billion in its latest plant to produce the Mirasol screens.

Jacobs said he is set for operating losses from its Mirasol business because Qualcomm is targeting to put Mirasol on a wider range of electronics in the future, tapping e-readers as it first commercial target.

Qualcomm begins global e-book launch in Korea [The Korea Herald, Nov 22, 2011]

Qualcomm Inc., the world’s largest mobile chip maker, and Korea’s biggest book store Kyobo announced the global launch of an e-book reader based on the Mirasol display technology in Seoul on Tuesday.

Qualcomm said it was the beginning of its global launch of e-book readersas it soon plans to dive into other overseas markets.

“This is the global launch starting with Korea,” Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, told The Korea Herald. “We will be rolling it out in other regions for other customers.”

Chui said he could not comment on the company’s next plan, however, he elaborated that the joint effort conducted with Kyobo was “very aligned with what we’re trying to do.”

The device, dubbed “Kyobo eReader,” will be equipped with a 5.7-inch Mirasol display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and will cost 349,000 won ($310). Released for the first time on Tuesday, about 93,000 different e-books, including the biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, are currently available for download. It will be sold at online and offline Kyobo stores, and the number of books available will be increased to 100,000 by year end, said a Kyobo official.

“I think everyone knows Korea has a very special place in the history of the company, so we’re here to launch a new product, a new technology and in conjunction with Kyobo, a new vision on how children will be educated and interact with books,” said Qualcomm’s chairman and chief executive Paul Jacobs.

“The device is the first one that has low power, sunlight visibility and also provides color and video ratecapability.”

The new Mirasol display technology, pointed out Jacobs, has enabled Qualcomm to garner a bigger share in the electronics display market. The gadget can go for weeks without additional battery charging and is also capable of video rate response times, according to Qualcomm officials.

“Mirasol is a very flexible technology. We chose to focus on this size because we think it’s a very good match with Kyobo’s vision,” Chui said during a press conference in Seoul.

He also said that the firm will unveil gadgets with different display sizes together with Kyobo and other partnersif it is necessary.

Qualcomm, a company that earns most of its sales revenue from mobile phone processors and radio chips, is moving to expand into displays with its Mirasol technology which it claims extends battery life in handheld devices. The San Diego-based firm is reportedly investing over $1 billion in a new plant to produce the display screens.

The company does have plans to expand the Mirasol display into a wider pool of gadgets, but it has said it works best with e-readers at the moment.

According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the global e-book industry is projected to grow an average of 27.2 percent by 2014, while the paper book market’s growth rate was expected to average at 1 percent by the same year.

The local e-book market has been referred to as an industry with enormous potential as some expect it to grow 10-fold from 2006 to 2012.

E-books, deemed to become especially popular among overseas Koreans or people who wish to buy Korean-language books in digital format, will be sold for at least 40 percent less than paper books.

In a related effort, the Culture Ministry also announced earlier in April that it would invest 60 billion won over a five-year period to nurture the local e-book industry.

It pledged to work on increasing the ground which the industry could bloom in, standardize e-book publishing technologies and spread digital reading habits.

The plan also includes supporting small and mid-sized publishing firms that have financial difficulties, and will nurture 1,000 people who are needed on-site by 2014.

The ministry said it would assist the production process of 10,000 well-recognized e-book every year and look for talented writers.

A total of 240,000 e-books are to be made available for borrowing from public libraries by the government in 2014.

Experts, however, say the industry — led mostly by small and mid-sized firms — still faces hurdles today in Korea with local giants, such as Samsung Electronics, claiming e-books will only play the part of an application for tablet PCs.

QUALCOMM Incorporated’s CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Nov 2, 2011]

… With respect to mirasol, we continue to work with partners on low-volume projects as we await the completion of our new fab. …

Q& A

… what the drag from mirasol was in fiscal year 2011, and how we should think about that for 2012.

William E. Keitel [executive vice president and chief financial officer]: … on mirasol, we did give an indication at the outset of 2011 that we expected — I think it was — if I remember correctly, we said about a $225 million operating loss. I expect we’ll update that in New York. And at this point — but with the business progressing, the R&D continuing and starting to bring more fab capacity online, we have a larger operating loss built into our guidance.

… on outlook for mirasol, specifically CapEx. I know you’re supposed to spend $1 billion this year. I think Japan pushed some of their CapEx into 2012. Can you give us some sort of updated perspective on where you see CapEx for that going as you continue to build out your fab into 2012 and maybe even beyond?

William E. Keitel: … on the mirasol CapEx. We did slow down what we had planned at the outset of this year to spend on the mirasol CapEx. At this point in our plans for fiscal ’12, we will catch up on the amount that we had originally projected for fiscal ’11.

LCD, E-ink Challenger Mirasol Will Be on Devices in Months [PCWorld, Nov 17, 2011]

Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology, which has been under development for years, will be in full production and in devices by the middle of next year, said Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, during a webcast investor meeting earlier this week.

The company is primarily focusing the screen technology on e-readers, but Mirasol displays have also been shown on tablets.

“We have partners who are really excited about the kind of capabilities that Mirasol brings — the ultra low power, sunlight visibility, the fact that we can do video on these things. So the devices are coming out, we’re feeling good about where we’re headed,” Jacobs said.

Displays are the biggest power hog on devices and Mirasol’s low-power attribute is its biggest advantage, Jacobs said.

“If you have an Android phone … you’ll generally see it’s the display that’s using most of the battery. We have just got to deal with the issue,” Jacobs said.

Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive

Follow-up: Core post: NOOK Media LLC: the finalization of the strategic joint venture between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft [Oct 6, 2012]

Ammunition Teams with Barnes & Noble on All-New NOOK [May 24, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Ammunition’s long-standing partnership with Barnes & Noble reached a milestone today with the announcement of the All-New NOOK, the ground up redesign of the company’s successful NOOK digital reader. Working alongside the world’s largest book retailer, Ammunition developed product concept, industrial design, and packaging for the All-New NOOK, the third e-reader and electronic publishing device to join the NOOK product line.The challenge for the All-New NOOK was to create a lower cost, full featured e-reader and to do so on a timeline that would allow it to move to market quickly. The result is a $139 device that uses eInk technology, a touch interface, and wireless connectivityto create a more immersive and personal reading experience for users. With its simple, soft, rubberized form and refined details, the All-New NOOK is by far the smallest and lightest dedicated e-reading tablet to come to market to date.Pre-orders are available at Barnes & Noble retail and online stores with a ship date on or about June 10, 2011.

NOOK work [by Ammunition]

… In addition, our team provided the retail packaging accessory strategy for NOOK Color.

The NOOK website

Highly recommended event report: Barnes & Noble Nook announcement of new ereader [TeleRead, May 24, 2011] (only a few excerpts are here, emphasis is mine)

Nook Color is the best selling Android tablet in the US and second only to the Ipad in overall tablet sales.

Compared to Kindle 3: no buttons and optimized interface makes it faster and easier to use; same size display as Kindle with 10% less size and bulk; countoured form factor so it is shaped to the hand, uses soft-touch paint; twice the battery life of the Kindle; Kindle uses reflash to change pages and until now this was the only option to address the ghosting effect, the new Nook is 85% faster.

Touch screen uses infra-red technology.  Design goal was that technology should disappear to make reading as much like a book as possible.  Will display how many pages left in a chapter.  6 different fonts with 7 different sizes.  The shop screen will give readers recommendations based on what you are currently reading. WiFi but no 3G.  Will connect automatically to AT&T hotspots.

Questions: WiFi is the dominant share in readers so went with that also helped keep the cost down.  800 MHz TI Omap chip [the same as in the Nook Color].  In hearing from customers battery life was always 1 or 2 in requirements. Two months is based on 1/2 hour reading per day with WiFi off. Nook apps only available on the Nook Color – this is a pure and simple device.  Uses Android 2.1.  Expandable up to 32Gb.  Old Nook device will be discontinued. Don’t expect it to cannibalize Nook Color sales because is aimed at a different market segment. Research suggests that some people will buy both products for different members of family. In next 3 to 5 years physical books will continue to dominate the market.  Store sales are not declining.  For touch screen worked with Neo Node. Digital revenue is fastest growing part of B&N revenue, by far.  No ads on Nooks.  Surprised at how well Apps have done.  Store managers by slightly less than 1/3 of their books regionally.

Barnes & Noble Partners with Leading Content Providers and Developers to Launch NOOK Apps™ for NOOK Color™, Best Reader’s Tablet™ [April 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

– NOOK Developer™ Program Brings Popular, High-Quality Applications For Customers to Play, Learn, Connect and More on Award-Winning Device
– Major NOOK Color Software Update Expands Best-In-Class Reading Experience with Most Requested Tablet Features Including Shopping For Apps in NOOK Bookstore™

NOOK Apps were introduced with the major NOOK Color software update launched today (available at no cost at www.nookcolor.com/update). The update delivers what customers want: shopping for popular apps, full-featured built-in email, an enhanced Web experience, as well as new ways for adults and children to enjoy rich content. NOOK Color v1.2 includes a platform upgrade to Android OS 2.2/Froyo, along with support for AdobeŽ AIRŽ and Adobe FlashŽ Player.

… Built on the Android OS, it is fast and easy for third-party developers to deploy existing Android-based apps to NOOK Color’s open eReading platform. With the v1.2 update, Adobe AIR is available pre-installed on the NOOK Color eReading platform, allowing developers to create and deliver rich and interactive applications for NOOK Color using tools in Adobe Creative SuiteŽ 5.5 including Flash Builder™ 4.5, and Flash Professional CS 5.5. Developers can learn more about the tools and resources available to create AIR and native Android applications for NOOK Color on the NOOK Developer portal.Barnes & Noble will continue to work with the development community – including the program’s more than 5,000 registered parties – to bring NOOK Color customers the highest quality apps, through a simple, organized method of discovery through the Shop experience. The number of NOOK Apps will continually expand as new applications are added to the growing collection. The NOOK Developer program continues to experience strong momentum with hundreds of developer requests to qualify for application submission in the three weeks since Barnes & Noble opened its submission process for qualified registrants and introduced a new suite of tools and services to accelerate application delivery and distribution.

Developers are invited to join and qualify to submit their applications by visiting www.nookdeveloper.com. Unlike other developer programs, there is no program fee for developers to participate in NOOK Developer. Developers who qualify will be able to submit paid and free apps and will receive 70 percent of any paid app purchased by Barnes & Noble customers. Developers also have the option to offer free trials to NOOK Color users.

Barnes & Noble Quickly Hits 1 Million NOOK Apps™ Downloads by NOOK Color™ Customers [May 16, 2011]

Milestone Reached Just One Week After NOOK App Shopping Made Available to All NOOK Color Customers
– Angry Birds, Drawing Pad, Fliq Calendar and Pulse Among Most Popular Apps

Barnes & Noble Introduces The All-New NOOK™, The Simple Touch Reader™ [May 24, 2011]

– Best Battery Life Ever – Up to an Incredible Two Months on a Single Charge
– Ultra-Light and Compact for Optimal Portability, Lighter than a Paperback
Full Touchscreen with E Ink(R) Pearl Display Technology for Reading Anywhere
– Optimized Display Performance Offers 80 Percent Less Flashing than Any Other eReader for the Most Immersive Reading Experience
– The Most Intuitive, Easy-to-Use eReader for Everyone
Barnes & Noble Expert Recommendations, Plus the Most Social Reading Experience with NOOK Friends™
– Pre-Order for $139 in Time for Father’s Day and Summer ReadingBarnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today expanded its bestselling digital reading offering with the All-New NOOK, The Simple Touch Reader. With a full touchscreen, NOOK™ features record-setting, extra-long battery life on the easiest-to-use, ultra-light, portable 6-inch eReader with the most-advanced E Ink Pearl display, and the world’s largest bookstore available by Wi-FiŽ. Now available for pre-order at www.nook.comand at Barnes & Noble stores for just $139, NOOK will begin shipping on or about June 10. Barnes & Noble adds the All-New NOOK, a significant leap forward in the dedicated eReader category, to a product line that includes the bestselling NOOK Color™, the only Reader’s Tablet™. Based on the success of the NOOK product line, combined with focus on the absolute best reading experience, Barnes & Noble now claims more than 25 percent of the digital book market – just 18 months after launching NOOK 1st Edition™.

Barnes & Noble has always recognized the simplicity and ease that the element of touch brings to its NOOK product line, and the All-New NOOK is no exception. With a simple tap to the 6-inch touchscreen, it’s intuitive and easy to navigate, shop and read. Customers can look up words, highlight passages, adjust the font size and style or search by typing on the responsive on-screen keyboard that appears only when a customer needs it. The paper-like E Ink display features crisp, clear text that’s great for reading anywhere, even in bright sunlight. The no-glare display offers 50 percent more contrast than NOOK 1st Edition.

At only 7.48 ounces (212 grams), the artfully designed All-New NOOK is lightweight and thin – 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than NOOK Wi-Fi 1st Edition™.  Lighter than a paperback, NOOK’s sleek but durable, compact design (6.5 inches high by 5 inches wide by 0.47 inches deep) makes it easy to fit in a jacket, pocket, purse or backpack, holding up to 1,000 digital books and more personal content using the expandable memory slot. Its ergonomic, contoured design with a soft-touch back makes it easy and comfortable to read, even with just one hand, and for extended periods of time.  And thanks to best-in-class battery life, read for up to 2 months on a single charge with Wi-Fi off – that’s twice as long as the other leading eReader available.

Barnes & Noble’s use of the latest-generation E Ink screen and proprietary technology offers unmatched performance on the All-New NOOK, delivering a seamless and immersive reading experience. NOOK offers 80 percent less flashing than other eReaders – whether turning pages, browsing for books or scrolling through your library. Page turns are lightning fast, using the touchscreen or well-placed side buttons, and with the new Fast Page™ feature, just press and hold a side button to quickly scan through content and skip right to the desired section.

“We set out to design the easiest-to-use, most optimized, dedicated reading device ever created and accomplished it with the All-New NOOK,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “Touch makes it simple to use, and the beautifully compact design makes it the most portable eReader in its class. Add to that an unmatched battery life, the most advanced paper-like touch display on the market and wireless access to the world’s largest digital bookstore, and we believe that for readers of all ages, the All-New NOOK is the best eReader on the market, and a great value at $139.”

The World’s Largest Bookstore in Your Pocket
With the All-New NOOK, customers can enjoy a wide variety of digital content, all at their fingertips. Shop for everything from new releases and current bestsellers to classics and more, all in a single search. The NOOK Bookstore™ offers one of the most expansive digital catalogs of more than two million books, magazines and newspapers. Enjoy helpful recommendations from Barnes & Noble’s experts, personalized based on customers’ favored authors and genres, to decide what to read next. Have more than 80 popular national and local market newspapers and magazines from the NOOK Newsstand™ automatically delivered to NOOK the moment they’re released, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA TODAY, as well as Forbes, Reader’s Digest, Discover, Fast Company and New York magazine. All periodicals are available for subscription with a 14-day free trial or via single copies.

Most NOOK Books™ are $9.99 or less, including most of The New York Times Bestsellers, plus there’s over a million free classics. Enjoy more than 100,000 titles from independent publishers and self-publishing authors using Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!™ digital publishing platform. Young readers will find more than 12,000 NOOK Kids™ chapter books in Barnes & Noble’s world’s largest collection of digital children’s content. Sample NOOK Book titles for free and download all content wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection in just seconds.

When customers visit Barnes & Noble stores with their All-New NOOK, the shopping and reading experience gets even better. Connect to free and fast Wi-Fi and browse complete NOOK Books for free through the company’s innovative Read In Store™ program and get exclusive content and special promotions through the More In Store™ program. NOOK customers receive access at more than 24,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as other personal and public hotspots to browse, buy and download new content wirelessly.

Get Social with NOOK Friends
Another way NOOK customers can learn more about great books is through NOOK Friends, an exciting social experience previously available only to NOOK Color customers. From the home page, customers can see book recommendations from friends.  See what your friends have posted about their current read, swap recommendations, share reading status, favorite quotes, and much more. Through TwitterŽ and FacebookŽ integrations, right from their current book, customers can tweet the title they’re reading, post on their Facebook wall and see what their NOOK Friends “like” on Facebook. With Barnes & Noble’s exclusive LendMeŽ technology, you can also lend eligible books to your friends at no cost for 14 days, and see and request to borrow friends’ LendMe books.

And coming in the next few weeks, Barnes & Noble will offer a new custom website, mynook.com, where customers can get recommendations from Barnes & Noble expert booksellers and NOOK Friends, access their NOOK Library™, and manage their device.

Read Your Way
Customers can customize their All-New NOOK and reading experience to their liking. Choose from 7 font sizes and 6 font styles. NOOK owners can personalize their device with one of Barnes & Noble’s screen savers or transfer personal photos (JPG, PNG, BMP and GIF) to make NOOK their own, and choose from a complete line of exclusive, new NOOK accessories (www.nook.com/accessories) to show their style wherever they go. They can also create personalized My Shelves to organize their NOOK Library and group reading content similar to their bookcase.

Read Everywhere
A customer’s entire NOOK Library follows them wherever they go. They can also easily transfer personal EPUB and PDF files to their All-New NOOK device to read documents on the go using the 2GB internal memory or a microSD™ card. Since the All-New NOOK is built on Android™ Operating System 2.1 and uses Adobe technology, device owners can also borrow digital books from their local library, a feature Barnes & Noble has always offered to NOOK device customers. Customers can also read seamlessly, accessing their NOOK Library and sync the last page read across their NOOK devices and their favorite mobile and computing devices using Barnes & Noble’s free line of eReading software (www.bn.com/freenookapps).

The All-New NOOK can be pre-ordered for $139 today and is expected to begin shipping on or about June 10, making it the perfect gift for dads and grads, and a great addition for every book lover’s summer reading wish list. Experience the All-New NOOK at www.nook.com or at the NOOK Boutiques™ and displays in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores. With The Barnes & Noble Promise™, the company offers unmatched customer support in neighborhood Barnes & Noble bookstores, as more than 40,000 booksellers across the country are ready to assist customers with setting up their NOOKs or choosing their next great read. The company also continues to provide award-winning customer service support via phone and email. The All-New NOOK will also be available beginning next month at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million, along with NOOK Color.

About NOOK™ from Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble’s NOOK brand of eReading products makes it easy to read what you love, anywhere you like™ with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Bookstore™ of more than two million digital titles, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices. The award-winning NOOK Color™ Reader’s Tablet™, the best-value on the tablet market ($249), features a stunning 7-inch VividView™ Color Touchscreen to read all of the content you love, shop popular apps, connect via email, browse the Web and more. The All-New NOOK ($139), the Simple Touch Reader™, is the easiest-to-use 6-inch touch reader, with the longest battery life of any eReader. In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK owners can access free Wi-Fi connectivity, enjoy the Read In Store™ feature to read NOOK Books™ for free, and the More In Store™ program, which offers free, exclusive content and special promotions. Barnes & Noble was the first company to offer digital lending for a wide selection of books through its LendMeŽ technology, available through NOOK eReading products. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at www.BN.com, as well as at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million.

In addition to NOOK devices, Barnes & Noble makes it easy for customers to enjoy any book, anytime, anywhere with its free line of NOOK software, available at www.bn.com/freenookapps. Customers can use Barnes & Noble’s free eReading software to access and read books from their personal Barnes & Noble digital library on devices including iPad™, iPhone(R), iPod touch(R), Android™ smartphones and tablets BlackBerry(R), PC and Mac(R). Lifetime Library™ helps ensure that Barnes & Noble customers will always be able to access their digital libraries on NOOK products and software-enabled devices and BN.com. Barnes & Noble also offers NOOK Study™ (www.nookstudy.com), an innovative study platform and software solution for higher education, NOOK Kids™ (www.nookkids.com), a collection of digital picture and chapter books for children, and NOOK Books en espańol™ (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooksenespanol), the first-ever Spanish language digital bookstore in the United States.

For more information on NOOK devices and eReading software, updates, new NOOK Book releases, Free Friday™ NOOK Books and more, follow us on www.twitter.com/ebooksbn and www.facebook.com/nookbn.

Nook Color e-book reader review from Consumer Reports [Nov 17, 2010]

Barnes & Noble Expands Award-Winning NOOK Color™ Reading Experience with the Most Requested Tablet Features [April 25, 2011]

– Reader’s Tablet™ Now Offering Popular Apps, Email, Enhanced Web Experience and New Rich Content for Adults and Children
– Customers Can Explore One of World’s Largest Digital Bookstores Featuring New NOOK Apps™, More than 2 Million Books, 150 Interactive Magazines and Newspapers and More Than 12,000 Children’s Chapter and Picture Books
– At Only $249, the Easy-to-Use, Full-Featured NOOK Color is the Best Value in the Tablet Market, Offering a Great Alternative to Expensive Tablets
– Exciting Free Software Update Now Available to All Current and Future NOOK Color CustomersBarnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced today that it added significant new features and content to the NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet, making what has already been acclaimed as the best reading device on the market, the best tablet value on the market at just $249. With a major update to its bestselling device, Barnes & Noble is delivering more of what NOOK Color customers want: shopping a broad collection of popular apps, staying connected with full-featured, built-in email and an enhanced Web experience. In addition, NOOK Color’s reading experience gets even better with enhanced books featuring in-page video, new interactivity in digital children’s picture books, and now over 150 interactive magazines and newspapers, including new popular titles like The Economist and Food & Wine. All current and future NOOK Color customers can experience all of the great new features in v1.2 now available at www.nookcolor.com/update and provided for free over the air (OTA) via Wi-Fi to customers beginning next week.

“NOOK Color offers the best reading experience of any device, and now delivers the most popular tablet features such as engaging apps so customers can play, learn and explore, free, built-in email, an Android operating system update for enhanced Web browsing and more interactive content,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “With our new NOOK Apps program, we’ve partnered with the world’s best publishers and developers to offer popular brands like Angry Birds, Epicurious, Uno, Lonely Planet, Dr. Seuss, Little Critter and many more quality and entertaining applications. These and other enhancements, plus new ways for adults and children to experience exciting content, make NOOK Color a great alternative to paying double the price – or more – for an expensive tablet. Our easy-to-use, full-featured Reader’s Tablet is available for only $249, and presents the best value of any tablet on the market.”

Introducing NOOK Apps
NOOK Color customers can get even more out of their Reader’s Tablet – built specifically for reading and complementary experiences – with a collection of top quality apps specially designed to take advantage of NOOK Color’s stunning 7-inch color touchscreen and to keep the whole family entertained, engaged, connected and organized. Enjoy great games like Angry Birds, Uno and More Brain Exercise, and stay up-to-date on news and weather with Pulse and My-Cast. Learn new languages with Lonely Planet Phrasebooks apps, and try new recipes with the app from Epicurious. Keep sharp with pre-loaded crossword puzzles, chess and Sudoku. Stay organized with calendar apps, relax with streaming music from PandoraŽ Internet Radio and spark creativity in children with Drawing Pad and more fun apps made just for kids like Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book.

NOOK Color customers can easily discover and download apps in seconds from Shop on NOOK Color, so they can browse complementary apps alongside books, magazines and other content. Customers can explore a growing collection of more than 125 favorite NOOK Apps from leading third-party developers and content providers in categories including Play, Organize, Learn, Explore, Lifestyle, News and Kids. The NOOK Apps offering will continually expand as new high-quality applications, optimized for NOOK Color, are added from the large and growing number of qualified developers and content providers submitting their applications through the company’s new app submission process.

Barnes & Noble offers a selection of free NOOK Apps – including calendar and notes apps, requested by NOOK Color customers – and paid apps, with approximately half of the collection available for $2.99 or less and the vast majority priced at $5.99 or less. Customers will easily find their newly downloaded or preloaded apps by tapping the NOOK Apps button on the Quick Nav menu or Apps section in their library, as well as through the newly refined search. All updated NOOK Color devices will now include NOOK Email™ and NOOK Friends™ apps preloaded in addition to Pandora Internet Radio, Crossword Puzzle, Sudoku, Chess, Contacts and Gallery.

Stay Connected with Email
NOOK Color now helps customers stay connected with the full-featured free NOOK Email application built in to organize Web mail accounts in one inbox. Given NOOK Color’s compact design that fits easily into a purse, jacket or bag, email was one of the most-requested features requested by customers. Connect to Wi-Fi to check and send emails with a full-screen virtual keyboard, making it easier than ever to stay in touch while on the go. NOOK Email works across the top Web mail services including Yahoo! Mail, Gmail™, AOL and Hotmail.

Updated Platform and a More Complete Web Experience
NOOK Color’s update to Android OS 2.2/Froyo offers system improvements, enhanced browser performance and a more complete Web experience giving customers access to enjoy even more video, interactive and animated content. NOOK Color now includes support for AdobeŽ FlashŽ Player. Surfing the Web is even better with the ability to easily switch between larger desktop or mobile Web experiences and enhanced pinch and zoom. Additional enhancements include improved global search and quick settings such as battery indicator, shortcuts to settings and audio.

Enhanced Reading Experience and More New Rich, Interactive Content to Enjoy
Designed for people who love to read everything in rich color, NOOK Color now has even more engaging and rich content, plus a sliding page turn animation, requested by customers. Easily access personal files transferred to NOOK Color on your customized Home screen.

By exploring Barnes & Noble’s more than 2 million digital titles, one of the world’s largest collections of digital reading content, customers will find even more exciting and engaging content to enjoy on NOOK Color.

  • NOOK Kids™: Barnes & Noble’s state-of-the-art NOOK Kids digital picture book experience – the first with the innovative Read to Me™ feature – has been expanded with 15 new Read and Play™ titles that bring animation, activities and stories together. In NOOK Color’s innovative Read and Play books, children can interact with their favorite characters and enjoy activities built right into the story they’re reading. Whether it’s drawing with Fancy Nancy or making the dogs go in Go, Dog, Go!, parents and children will enjoy narration, animation and interactivity that fits into the story and plot lines of new Read and Play titles including Splat the Cat, Are You My Mother?, Caps for Sale, Little White Rabbit and more, now available to explore and enjoy.

With more than 350 NOOK Kids digital picture books and more than 12,000 children’s chapter books, Barnes & Noble offers the world’s largest collection of digital content for children. Children can choose stories featuring popular characters like Nickelodeon’s Dora The Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, and Disney favorites like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snow White and Cars.

  • NOOK Books™ Enhanced: Watch that appetizing recipe being made step-by-step or learn how to perfect yoga poses with embedded video and audio in cookbooks, health and fitness, biography, photography and travel books, along with other interactive content on NOOK Color. With more than 225 multimedia titles (and growing), Barnes & Noble offers instructive content including Knitting for Dummies, You: Raising a Child and ELLE: Workout Yoga starring Brooklyn Decker. Learn more about bestselling books from authors including David Baldacci, Pat Conroy, Russell Brand, Keith Richards and many more.
  • NOOK Newsstand™: Dozens more favorite magazines and newspapers are now available on NOOK Color – the first reading device to offer popular newsstand titles in rich, full color. From Us Weekly and Elle to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, NOOK Newsstand delivers your morning paper and latest magazines right to your NOOK Color, ready to read in an amazing new way. With enhancements to magazine navigation on NOOK Color, it’s even easier to enjoy the full-color, digital edition of the print magazine, including Barnes & Noble’s innovative ArticleView™ feature.  Barnes & Noble continues to build its NOOK Newsstand offering, now with more than 150 top full-color magazines and newspapers including recent additions such as OK! Magazine, ESPN The Magazine, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Kids, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Dwell, Outside, Saveur, The Onion, PC Gamer, Family Handyman and many more. All can be enjoyed with a 14-day free trial, via subscription or purchased in single issue form.

Get Social with NOOK Friends
With the new NOOK Friends App (Beta), NOOK Color creates the go-to social network for people who love to read, and offers even more ways to connect. Customers can create a group of NOOK Friends to easily swap books, get a friend’s take on a new bestseller, discover great new reads or see if someone’s enjoying a book they recommended on the Friends’ Activity tab. NOOK Color customers can view their NOOK Friends’ content ratings and reviews, shared quotes, recommendations and how they’re progressing on their latest book. Check out all or individual NOOK Friends’ LendMe™ books available and track all current and pending sharing activity. Updates to NOOK Color also make it easy for customers browsing the great content available in Shop to share which products they “Like” on Facebook and view how many other Barnes & Noble customers “Like” it, too.

NOOK Color v1.2 Now Available
NOOK Color customers can experience all of the great new features in v1.2 immediately at no cost via manual download at www.nookcolor.com/update. A free over-the-air (OTA) update will begin rolling out to customers via Wi-Fi over the coming weeks. Experience the new NOOK Apps and other exciting new features at the NOOK Boutique™ or display in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores across the country or by visiting www.nookcolor.com. NOOK Color, along with NOOK devices, can also be found at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million.

Barnes and Noble NOOK COLOR eBook Reader Tablet [Nov 7, 2010]

Nook Color Goes Froyo [April 25, 2011]

Nook Color Review: Get the Scoop on the Barnes & Noble Nook Color [eBook Readers Resource, Feb 16, 2011]

As one would anticipate, the 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution LED-backlit color screen takes up most of the front portion of this reader. Note that the In-Plane Switching (IPS) display utilized here is the same screen technology used in Apple’s iPads and iMacs. Barnes & Noble however, has customized the Nook with its proprietary VividView technology which fully laminates the screen coating, thereby significantly reducing the glare.

… despite its VividView treatment, the Nook Color’s IPS display remains pretty reflective, thus, it still doesn’t quite match up to e-ink technology when it comes to providing a glare-free reading experience.

Nook Color review [Engadget, Nov 16, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

It’s hard to believe we’re already writing a review of the Nook Color, considering Barnes & Noble’s first foray into the e-reader world was revealed just over a year ago. In that time, the company has gone from no presence in e-books to owning 20 percent of the marketshare, and now has moved from a somewhat sluggish hybrid E-Ink / LCD device to a full color, tablet-like product. …

… the front of the device is eaten up mostly with that 7-inch, 1024 x 600 IPS display. …

… As we said, the screen is of the 7-inch LCD variety, and at the 1024 x 600 resolution, looks reasonably dense (from a pixel perspective) with a 178-degree viewing angle. Barnes & Noble is particularly proud of the screen, which the company says utilizes its “VividView” treatment to provide less glare. What that really means is that the screen coating is fully laminated against the display itself, making for less tiny, almost-imperceptible unglued areas which can catch light. Still, the display is pretty reflective, making reading in bright locations (like on a subway with stark fluorescent lighting) sometimes difficult. …

… Web browsers and gaming aside, the main focus of the Nook Color is that it’s an e-reader — so how does it fare in that department?

First let’s get something out of the way. Obviously this isn’t an E-Ink screen, so you have to decide if you’re on board or not for reading on an LCD display. If you’re entertaining an iPad or Galaxy Tab, we’ll assume this screen technology is not going to deter you from using the device as a reader. For us, the display tech isn’t a major hang-up — in fact, lots of the staff have been using iPads as reading devices with little to no trouble.

So as far as screen tech goes, the Nook Color looks gorgeous as an e-reader for standard books and goes one step beyond, delivering magazines and children’s books the way they were meant to be viewed. For standard e-book reading, there are tons of options for formatting, fonts, and coloring — even those with poor eyesight should be able to find settings that make the reading experience enjoyable. We really liked reading with the Color, and even though the device doesn’t sport animated page turns (a la the iPad), it does offer great options for notation and word or phrase discovery (you can do dictionary, Google, and Wikipedia searches right from a contextual menu). We also loved that you’re able to share quotes or info about what you’re reading via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

For magazines, the reading format is a bit different. The full pages of the magazine are displayed on the screen, and you can swipe left and right to move through them. What’s even better, however, is a scrubber (for lack of a better term) that you’re able to bring up just below your magazine content which lets you quickly jump through the magazine and then zoom into a page you want to read. We found this option great for skipping ads. Once in a magazine page, you can zoom and pan to see photos up close or read, but the Nook Color also provides a novel (no pun intended) option called ArticleView which lets you break out text on the page into a strip down the middle of the screen with plain, clearly readable content inside. It’s a great idea that worked most of the time. Sometimes, on pages with lots of captions or cutaway text it didn’t seem to capture everything. As avid magazine readers, we really love the option of a unified method of getting periodicals, and the Nook Color is the first device to actually show that it can be done without a tremendous amount of effort (and surprisingly little lost). There’s clearly room to grow in this area (and a lot of content still to nab — the current magazine catalog is only about 70 strong), but we like where it’s headed. We hate to beat a dead horse, but as with the rest of the interface, the magazine experience is hampered by the sluggishness of the UI.

The Nook Color also offers newspapers delivered daily, but we’re not quite as psyched on the layout of the traditional dailies. We found the page ordering and design of these digital editions confusing and clunky. There’s likely a hybrid of what Barnes & Noble is doing with magazines and what the company does with books for these publications — but the current state of daily papers is a bit of a mess on the platform.

The final piece of the puzzle is B&N’s push into the kids’ book market with its new formatting that not only allows children and their parents to page through full color versions of popular kids titles, but introduces a “read to me” function. The premise is rather simple: a professional voice actor reads the copy out loud through the Nook Color’s speaker, and a child can follow along. We’re sure this will be a quality addition to a parent’s arsenal of options for keeping the kids happy. We did have a few issues with some audio skipping early on in one of the books we tested, but it went away quickly and didn’t return. The kids books also offer a scrubber similar to the one found in the magazine section. One thing of note — loading these volumes takes a little more time — though overall the feature worked as advertised.