There’s nonetheless nothing fairly like thumbing the pages of a real-life print journal, however the newest evolution of E Ink’s colour tech is creeping tantalizingly shut — no less than so far as my eyes are involved.

You’ve heard it all before: A lifetime of observing screens has worn out my eyes, main me down a rabbit gap of lifehacky solutions to ease the fatigue. Some of the tips I picked up over time have helped — particularly the one the place I merely take breaks and go for walks — however one factor hasn’t modified: I nonetheless spend extra time than I’d like gazing at shiny shows.

I don’t need something much less for movies or gaming, however for studying I sometimes ignore the most recent tech and as an alternative flip to a 2016 Kindle Oasis or old style books. My fingers can clearly inform the distinction between the 2, however after I’m misplaced in a narrative, I don’t suppose my eyes can. With paper and e-paper alike, a way of ease washes over me as I learn. Is it how the sunshine bounces off the web page? Or, is it as a result of I do know adverts and notifications gained’t bombard me at each flip? I’m undecided, and I don’t actually care why; I simply choose it, and E Ink jogged my memory of that after I stepped into its little convention room final week in Las Vegas.

E Ink posted up at the Venetian for CES 2023, and inside its makeshift showroom, the MIT spinoff crammed its newest tech, together with items of its wacky BMW wrap and its newest Gallery 3 colour shows. The latter tech is now trickling into the market, beginning with units just like the PocketBook Viva. And let me let you know, these shows look outright vivid subsequent to the washed-out hues in E Ink’s Kaleido colour shows, which debuted just two years ago. Gallery 3’s CMYK shows can spit out 50,000 colors at 300 DPI — method, method up from Kaleido’s 4,000 colours, the corporate mentioned.

A prototype with E Ink’s Gallery 3 show tech.

“We aren’t ever going to be the best movie-showing screen,” U.S. enterprise lead Timothy O’Malley acknowledged the plain in an interview with TechCrunch. But E Ink’s targets are nonetheless stretching nicely into iPad territory. Eventually, E Ink goals to construct {a magazine} studying expertise that’s ok to win over even probably the most demanding publishers, O’Malley informed TechCrunch.

“Fashion magazines in particular really have strict standards on color [and] that’s a great goal for us,” the 22-year firm veteran mentioned. “I do believe we will get there and the tech fundamentally supports it.”

O’Malley added, “We’ll work on the material response and the controls, and we will get the saturation up to that.” Reaching that bar may win over comics followers and picturebook readers, too.

For now, E Ink’s Gallery colour tech is at its finest when it’s utilized in signage, the place the corporate can sacrifice refresh pace for readability. But in handheld readers, the place you don’t wish to wait ages for the subsequent web page to show, the colours are nonetheless wanting muted subsequent to a retina display screen. As I swiped on a Gallery 3 prototype, giant photographs lagged and flashed clumsily. But when the identical prototype displayed small colour illustrations alongside black-on-white textual content, the tech really appeared prepared for the lots. 

A prototype with E Ink's Gallery 3 display tech.

The similar prototype with E Ink’s Gallery 3 show.

E Ink’s in-house Gallery 3 stats illustrate the present tradeoff. The firm mentioned in December that its black-and-white replace time is now at 350 milliseconds, whereas its colour speeds vary from 500 ms (which E Ink calls “fast color mode”) to 1500 ms (for “best color”). E Ink lets producers resolve how they’ll stability pace and readability, so your proverbial mileage could differ.

Brands like PocketBook, Bigme and BOOX already appear to be embracing Gallery 3, but there’s nonetheless no phrase if Amazon is prepared to throw its appreciable weight behind colour ereaders. Amazon may assist legitimize the tech, however crucially, the retail big recently bailed on magazine and newspaper subscriptions for its black-and-white Kindles, amid broad price cuts. 

When I requested O’Malley what the holdup may be for a full-color Kindle, the manager speedily deflected. “It’s a two step dance — we have our part, and each customer has their own part,” he mentioned.

A Kindle rep rapidly declined to remark after I requested an identical query over electronic mail, however hey, a woman can dream.

Read more about CES 2023 on TechCrunch

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