Esquire commemorated its 75th anniversary by pubishing a limited edition October 2008 issue of the magazine. The magazine is available at some major newsstands and bookstores. The limited edition itself would be special in and of itself since it is limited to just 100,000 copies, but there is a twist, and it makes it more special. The limited edition issue has moving words and flashing images on the magazine cover. This is possible due to a technology generally called electronic paper display and in particular E Ink‘s technology.
The 75th Anniversary E Ink cover, according to Esquire, took more than one year to develop. The E Ink display, electronics and batteries are assembled in Shanghai, China. The batteries last approximately 90 days. That’s because it is flashing. If the display wasn’t flashing, it would last almost forever since the particular display consumes zero energy when the content does not need to change. The underlying display technology is bi-stable, meaning that when a certain grayscale is achieved it does not require energy to keep that state. But in the case of Esquire’s unique design the batteries can erode in extreme temperatures and had to be distributed via a refrigerated truck. Special treatment for a special product. There are even links on Esquire to help you hack it.
In addition to the YouTube video, you can see a video of the 7th Anniversary E Ink cover here. As you can see, in terms of a display, it is quite rudimentary. But for a magazine, the fact that things are flashing is quite special. I think we’re on the verge of changing consumer expectations: magazines will need to be more entertaining and not in terms of better writing or clever advertising; it has to be animated and maybe in the near future have interactive capabilities. That leads to the full development of e-paper or in particular electronic newspaper that coincidentally was announced by Plastic Logic on September 6, 2008. More about that in another blog post.
[tags]Esquire, Esquire 75th Anniversary, Esquire 75th Anniversary E Ink Cover, E Ink, E-Ink, Electronic Paper Display, Bistable, E Ink Magazine[/tags]