E-Ink Displays to Go Color in 2010?

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Since the unveiling of the iPad, industry folks have been sounding Kindle’s death knell. In the meantime, Amazon has been piling on the announcements that herald Kindle’s bright future, including its app store, and last week’s news that Amazon bought touch screen manufacturer TouchCo. Bezos was absolutely cocky while reporting Amazon’s earnings. So either he ain’t scared at all about Kindle’s future, or he’s terrified.

And, on Friday, Kindle got another boost: Scott Liu, chairman of Prime View International, the company that owns E-Ink, said that his company will introduce some of the technology E-Ink fans have been wishing for by the end of 2010: color and flexible screens, as well as new pressure sensors that will enable touch screen eReaders without obscuring the display. He also promised that the refresh time on E-Ink screens will speed up, making animation possible on E-Ink devices. Engadget observes, humorously, that “flip books provide animation as well but we wouldn’t want to use one for any considerable amount of time.”

But the same question remains: do readers want a dedicated reading device like the Kindle, or a multipurpose gadget like the iPad? It may be that the future of the Kindle depends more on how consumers feel about that question than on any improvements to E-Ink that may come along.