E-book readers are lightweight and use little power, but most have a distinct disadvantage to colorful tablet computers: their black-and-white displays. But on Tuesday at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo, a Chinese company will announce that it will be the first to sell a color display using technology from E Ink, whose black-and-white displays are used in 90 percent of the world’s e-readers, including the Amazon Kindle, Sony Readers and the Nook from Barnes & Noble.
While Barnes & Noble recently announced a color Nook and the Apple iPad has a color screen, both devices use LCD, the technology found in televisions and monitors. The first color e-reader, from Hanvon Technology, based in Beijing, has an E Ink display. “Color is the next logical step for E Ink,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, an analyst at iSuppli. “Every display you see, whether it’s a TV or a cellphone, is in color.”
Jennifer K. Colegrove, director of display technologies at DisplaySearch, said it was a milestone moment. “This is a very important development,” Ms. Colegrove said. “It will bring e-readers to a higher level.” E Ink screens have two advantages over LCD — they use far less battery power and they are readable in the glare of direct sunlight.