E Ink Is Doomed

E Ink displays are used in almost all ereaders including the most popular Kindle by Amazon. These epaper displays allow you, the avid reader, to read for a week without having to find a power socket. E Ink displays can do that because they don’t consume power when information is not being changed. It is called a bi-stable display. E Ink continues to advance the display and color versions are around the corner. But, I think E Ink is doomed.

The biggest problem with E Ink’s display is that it ruins the reading experience: it takes about one second to get to the next page. That’s too long. Another problem is the lack of color, which is coming, but it might be too late.

There are two reasons, actually, two companies, that will doom E Ink. The first company is Pixel Qi. Without getting into too much technical details, the 3Qi display is unique in that you can completely turn off the backlight, making the display fully reflective: ambient light is used as a backlight. In this mode very little power is drawn: you would be reading for a significant amount of time before having to deal with power. But without having to deal with 1-second delays when “turning” pages. I can imagine a future Kindle with a 3Qi display and it looks promising.

The second company that will ruin E Ink is Apple. With Apple’s rumored tablet all ebook readers will look as low-tech as paper-bound books are to the Kindle/Nook today. Of course, there is the possibility that Apple’s tablet could be using Pixel Qi’s display.