Chinese manufacturer Hanvon unveiled the World's first color e-ink e-reader at CES 2011 earlier this month. The device uses e-ink technology and has the capability of displaying up to 4096 colours but this is only achieved by overlaying a colour filter over the black and white screen to produce the colours.
The contrast ratio has doubled over the last year so that the black and white colours still show through the colour filter.
Although Barnes & Noble recently announced a color Nook and the Apple iPad has a color screen, both devices use LCD technology used for televisions and monitors.
The two major advantages that e-Ink displays have over LCD displays is that they use far less battery power and are readable even in direct sunlight. Although the launch of the colour e-reader is a breakthrough, it has been reported that the colours on the Hanvon display have the appearance of a faded color photograph. This may be useful in graphs for business purposes but the consumer will not be happy with low quality colour images when LCD and OLED screens now offer such high definition.
In addition, the device cannot run video yet as the current refresh rate is 4 frames / second which is below the requirement of 30 frames / second for video.
Hanvon's e-reader comes with a 9.7" touch screen with a resolution of 1600 x 1200. Other features include 2GB flash memory, micro SD card slot, built in microphone, 2 stereo speakers, WiFi and 3G internet access. As power is only utilized when the page is turned the battery can support up to10, 000 page turns.
The first devices will be aimed at the business user with the first products selling in China from March 2011.
Hanvon Technology was established in 1998. Whilst barely known in the USA, the company claim they are the world's second largest e-book manufacturer and according to Hanvon's founder and chairman, Liu Yingjian, the company has a 78 percent share of the Chinese market.
For more attend: Printed Electronics Europe 2011.