Color Kindle 4? a color eInk video + 2 kindle free books

First, the two free kindle books -

  1. Slow Ride: Rough Riders by Lorelei James. Genre: Romance, Touchy-Feely Covers.  Price: $0. It’s got one very strong endorsement -

    Keely has always been my favorite female character…What a treat to be able to read more about her wedding and Jack’s plans for their honeymoon.
    Slow Ride is funny, definitely SEXY and emotional…yes I cried while reading it. I also fell in LOVE with Jack all over again =)

  2. Money Saving Mom has a Thanksgiving Your Way book that’s pretty cool. It’s in DRM free PDF format and has recipes, decorating ideas, and more. Thanks to the kindle forum commenter who mentioned the book.

It’s a never-ending stream of free kindle books this week – not that we’re complaining.

Color eInk Video leaked 1 day in advance

Akihabara News has a video of the new color eInk from PVI/eInk which is called ‘Triton’. It’s quite remarkable and definitely worth watching (thanks to CW for the tip).

PVI/eInk was supposed to launch the Triton color eInk screens tomorrow at the Waste-of-Time Conference in Japan but it’s already got all the information on its website -

  1. Up to 1 month battery life. That’s shockingly good.  
  2. Thousands of colors in addition to 16 levels of grayscale. eInk claims the text is still crisp and that color graphics and text are both fully viewable in direct sunlight.
  3. Triton, just like eInk Pearl, is 20% faster than the previous generation of eInk.

There is a Triton Color eInk page at PVI/eInk’s website and that too is well worth checking out. There’s even a customer showcase with Kindle and some other eInk powered devices shown off.

Here are the technical specifications for Triton color eInk screens -

10:1 Contrast Ratio
White State: 70 (minimum)
Dark State: 24 (maximum)
Bit Depth: 4-bit; 4096 colors, 16 levels CR
Reflective: 40% (minimum)
Viewing Angle: Near 180 degrees
Image Update Time: 240 ms to 980 ms
Update Modes: Color, Text, Pen, Animation

Also,
Available Display Sizes: 2 to 12 inches
Display Thickness: 12 mm
Resolution: Capabilities exceed 200 dpi
Aspect Ratio: Typical eReaders use 4:3 

The reflectivity is not ideal, the sharpness and richness of the colors isn’t comparable to LCDs, and .25 to .98 seconds image update time is slow. However, color eInk is still very impressive due to its battery life, its readability in sunlight, and for the fact that it’s finally about to materialize.

The video and website do a good job of explaining how Triton works. All of this leads to an obvious question.

Will we see a Color Kindle 4 powered by Triton Color eInk?

Surely, Amazon isn’t going to let Hanvon have all the fun.

The way things stand it seems that Mirasol and eInk Triton are the only two horses in the race – you have to wonder which one Amazon has picked. The Triton color eInk video isn’t as impressive as Qualcomm’s Mirasol videos but Amazon has worked with PVI/eInk since the first Kindle and PVI/eInk has proven it can deliver ePaper screens at scale.

Will Amazon release a Kindle 4 in mid or even early 2011 that uses eInk Triton?

Perhaps Amazon will wait till end 2011 and release a Color Kindle that uses the Mirasol display. Perhaps it will be a $249 Kindle Color meant to take on Nook Color and the iPad mini (assuming it materializes – Steve Jobs’ denial pretty much guarantees it exists).  

Don’t know whether Amazon will be able to release a color ePaper based eReader at $249. If it can, a Color Kindle 4 at $249 would slot in nicely between Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2.

What impact will Nook Color have on Kindle 4?

You have to imagine that if Nook Color is a big hit and/or starts taking market share in the eReader market Amazon will respond quickly. In that case it might need to release a color Kindle 4 early in 2011 and eInk Triton might be its only option. Unless of course Mirasol displays are being produced in large enough numbers and are available at low enough prices to be a viable option.

If, on the other hand, Nook Color doesn’t do well or doesn’t do well with readers then Amazon might just decide it can wait till end 2011 or even 2012 to release a color Kindle and we might see only software improvements to Kindle 3 or perhaps a black and white eInk powered Kindle 4 that adds a touchscreen.

It’s all very exciting – Hanvon’s color eReader isn’t slated to arrive until March but it sets the ball rolling and now everyone will be trying to one-up Hanvon. It just seems that color eReaders in general, and a color Kindle in particular, are closer than we thought.

5 Responses

  1. The Triton specs are almost a copy-and-paste of the Pearl specs with the Pearl having 0.7% more reflectivity. There is also some difference with Update time with the Pearl at 260ms (1bit) and the Triton at 240-980ms). I’m guessing a full color update will take about a second.

    I’m really curious about the actual resolution since Triton will likely use four pixels compared to a single pixel on monochrome screens. It’s likely only a higher resolution backplane behind the e-ink screen is needed to achieve this.

  2. Holy Smoke !

    OK Kindle: You know now what MUST be done.
    Give us our e-ink color Kindles packaged in the existing Kindle 3 enclosure because the lion share of us love the portability of our Kindle 3s. Do this and you will be in it for the WIN !.
    John – Ohio

  3. Seemed a little pale. Red in particular lacked richness, but maybe its just me or my PC. Still, very cool.

    I can’t wait for eye-friendly video capability!!

  4. Nook Color is better for reading than iPad and better for everything else than Kindle. Nook Color is better for $249. The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them. Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad thanks to new LG screen with anti-reflection coating. It allows to watch videos, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF’s. If you prefer e-Ink screen, the original Nook is still available from BN.

  5. I looked at the iPad for reading. I could see the pixel makeup of the words and it slowed my reading. I’m considering a new Nook Color. I hope the screen is better for reading than the iPad. I have a Nook ereader with 3G and WiFi and I love it.

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