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E Ink shows off next-gen displays: high contrast, fast refresh, and rugged (video)

Tim Stevens

It took so long for electronic ink screens to finally hit the market we feel a bit silly getting impatient for the next-generation, but the Kindle has been on the market for a year and a half now, Sony Reader models for twice that long, and still we're dealing with the same crummy 7:1 contrast ratio, 16 shade grayscale, and .74 second refresh rate. E Ink's Sriram Peruvemba, however, is finally showing off next-generation models of the sort parent company PVI told us were coming, the first an improvement on existing screens that offers a 12:1 contrast ratio and a refresh rate fast enough for simple animations. Also shown is a larger, (slightly) flexible model rugged enough to take a meaty fist square in the face without blinking a single pixel. This version Peruvemba sees playing a major role in digital textbooks in the future. Unfortunately we still have a bit of time to wait for either, with the boosted contrast ratio model entering production later this year and the flexible one sometime in early 2011. Add another six months or so for devices using the things to make it to retail and hopes for a brighter, next-gen Kindle shipping by the holidays start to look a bit dim.

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