'Electronic Paper' Goes Color

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN -- E Ink, a U.S.-based developer of electronic-paper type flat-panel displays, has developed a color version of its screen technology and is showing it at the FPD International exhibition that opened Wednesday in here.

The screen was developed by E Ink with color-filter supplier Toppan Printing and the sample on show was completed within the last few weeks, said Darren Bischoff, senior marketing manager for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company. It's based on similar technology to the company's monochrome displays that are already in production and can be found in a handful of products like Sony's Librie electronic book reader.

Aimed at Small Devices

The main difference is the addition of a color filter. The prototype on display in Yokohama is a 6-inch display with 400-by-300-pixel resolution. That works out to 83 pixels per inch, which is half that of the commercial screen used in the Sony e-book reader.

The screens are reflective, which means they use ambient light reflected through the display rather than a backlight. They offer high contrast and appear much closer to paper in appearance than other flat panel displays.

E Ink anticipates the display will be ready for sale at the end of 2006, said Bischoff. Potential applications include ATM screens, digital camera viewfinders, and mobile phones, he said.

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