Color e-paper will debut in a display from Qualcomm reports Technology Review in their November issue. The publication uses a curious definition for “e-paper”. They say it means the display “has no backlighting and thus can be read in direct sunlight.” The display consists of “two layers of a reflective material”. “Some wavelengths of light bounce off the first layer; some pass through and bounce off the second. Interference between the two beams creates the color, and electrostatic forces control the distance between the layers.” So this technology appears to differ from the methods pioneered by E Ink based on this short description. (Update November 2: Qualcomm has a web page titled
“How it Works” about the display technology it calls mirasol.)
The display is small and it is part of an MP3 player and not an e-book. Being waterproof would certainly be a nice property for an e-book reader. Author Margaret Atwood has said that you cannot read an e-book in the bath. Sara Nelson, editor of Publishers Weekly has also been dubious about bathtub e-reading. Now that there is waterproof color e-paper display in an MP3 player perhaps an e-book might be next.
Epson is sending out samples this month of a new transflective LCD display for indoor and outdoor use according to Engadget and TechOn. “The new transflective LCDs use a transmissive mode with light provided by a backlight in darker environments, while outdoors and in other well-lit locations their reflective mode harnesses the surrounding light, reducing backlight power consumption” says the Epson press release.
The OLPC is color and it can also be read in direct sunlight; however, the display changes its appearance to black and white when it is reflecting light.