Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Way for Color ePaper

Electrophoretic displays (EPDs) were pretty much ideal for the first generation of eBook readers; indeed, they were the key enabling technology for the category. Reflective EPD display technology consumes very little power, is easily visible in sunlight, and has the general appearance and human-factors advantages of ink on paper — which is why it is called electronic paper (ePaper). But EPD is a black-and-white technology, and there is now huge pressure from both consumers and content providers for color eReaders.

Since LCDs are an inherently monochrome technology too, it was reasonable to try the same approach to the color that’s used with LCDs: placing a matrix of red, green, and blue (RGB), or red, green, blue, and white (RGBW) color filters over the monochrome pixels to provide color. This is being done, and in November Hanvon — which dominates the Chinese eReader market — introduced the first color EPD eReader.

The approach is inefficient however, since an RGB matrix color filter (MCF) absorbs roughly two-thirds of the incident light. RGBW absorbs about half. This has been tolerable in transmissive LCDs, because you can build in a backlight that’s bright enough to give you a bright image despite the losses. With reflective displays, that option isn’t available, and you have to work with whatever ambient light there is. The result has been color EPDs that are rather dark. Alternatively, the manufacturer can intentionally use a low-density MCF, which produces a brighter image with unsaturated colors. In either case, the color gamut is in the range of 12% (NTSC). This is probably enough color for many uses, at least in the short run, but like Oliver Twist, we all want more.

In a paper delivered yesterday to a packed room at Photonics West in San Francisco, Jason Heikenfeld (Director, Novel Devices Laboratory, University of Cincinnati) proposed a new system for doubling the reflectance and colorfulness of ePaper. Basically, said Heikenfeld, better color depends on a better choice of color system. Single-layer RGBW color filtering offers greater brightness than single-layer RGB, as indicated above, but stacked RGB or CMY theoretically gives the best white-state reflectance and the best color gamut, said Heikenfeld. Unfortunately, stacking three layers gives rise to appreciable optical losses, particularly at high resolutions, and is generally not compatible with video rates.

As a result, Heikenfeld proposed “a compromise between the simplicity (but poor performance) of RGBW and the complexity (yet higher performance) of stacking three…display panels.” His compromise is “a new bi-primary color system that can display two complementary colors inside a single pixel, and therefore double the white state reflectance and color gamut for single-layer e-Paper. Although the color performance is not perfect, it has the potential to be the best among single layer color systems.”

In Heikenfeld’s bi-primary display, each of the three different kinds of subpixels contains a pair of complementary colors — red and cyan, green and magenta, blue and yellow. In the “mixing” version of the display, the complementary colors can overlap each other, producing black. Or both color regions can be clear, producing white; or only one can be clear so the other complementary color is presented.

One benefit of the system is obvious. Since each subpixel can be white, the absorption can be zero, and the white can be twice as bright as in an RGBW display. It takes a bit more study to realize that the use of six primaries — RGBCMY — produces greater brightness for individual colors.

In addition, a greater percentage of the area of the display that’s supposed to be showing a particular color is actually reflecting that color with the bi-primary display. In the case of an RGBW display, only 25% of the area reflects red when a pure red is called for. When this percentage, called the color fraction (CF), is greater, colors are more saturated and appear brighter. The figure shows the red state for a two-layer, bi-primary electrowetting display. This architecture allows both the red sub-pixel and the complementary yellow and magenta sub-pixel to be used to create red, thereby increasing the color fraction. For the details, refer to Heikenfeld’s paper, “A New Bi-primary Color System for Doubling the Reflectance and Colorfulness of e-Paper.”

Heikenfeld notes that the system is compatible with both electrophoretic and electrowetting display technologies. But he acknowledges the system is still in the R&D stage, and there are still materials and fabrication challenges to be overcome.

Although a lot has been written — and is being written, including this Display Daily — about ePaper display technologies, there hasn’t been an extensive, neutral, and critical review of ePaper technologies in the open literature. Starting next week there will be, when a 28-page review paper appears in the Journal of the SID. That paper is “A Critical Review of the Present and Future Prospects for Electronic Paper” by Jason Heikenfeld, Paul Drzaic, Jong-Soouk Yeo, and Tim Koch, and it combines readability with 145 references. I have a copy of the article proof on my second monitor right now. It is highly recommended.


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Filed under Color, epaper, OLED

Adobe: Digital Ad Engagement Study

The study also found clear statistical connections among the five measured categories in the experiment.  By using interactivity such as motion graphics, sound, slideshows and animation, advertisers can engage readers and create favorable attitudes towards their brands. Once engaged, readers are then more likely to interact with the ad, resulting in a higher probability that they will purchase the product or service being promoted.

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PDF Report: Digital Ad Engagement: Perceived Interactivity as a Driver of Advertising Effectiveness

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Sony PSP2 arrives in 2011 with 3G and OLED touchscreen



The new Sony PSP2 will be introduced in 2011 and will have 3G and a Amoled display. The japanese newspaper Nikkei has announced this preliminary details about Sonys PSP2.
In Japan, the 3G service will be provided by NTT DoCoMo.
The PSP2 will have also WLAN, and the 3G support will allow players to connect online everywhere.

Separate from the wireless functionality, the paper reports that the new PSP will make use of an OLED touch screen. Sony will also use a new processor for the PSP2.

Nikkei also gives us some informations about the Playstation-Phone its a smartphone that includes major game features. The Playstation-Phone features Googles Android system and will allow users to access non-game software like video and scheduling software.

Sony is expected to take the veil off the new PSP system at a press conference on the 27th. The PlayStation cell phone device is expected to be unveiled next month.

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HP webOS Device



Early next month, HP will host a press event that will focus on the webOS mobile operating system it now manages thanks to the Palm acquisition. While the event could cover anything from strategy to devices, some product-related goodies are likely a safe bet. After all, HP is due to release a host of devices this year, so it better start announcing them soon. Thanks to some loose lips, it now looks like a webOS tablet announcement is all but confirmed.

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Andriod Tablet Roundup

By Chris Talbot on 2011-01-12

The year 2011 has already been declared the Year of the Tablet, and Google’s Android platform is expected to make even bigger waves as it steps up to go head-to-head against Apple’s iPad, the device that put tablets into the mainstream consciousness. As an open source project, Android has the advantage of a large community backing its development and the support of mobile device manufacturers (from some of the biggest names in the business to entry-level players). Many Android-based tablets have already been released to the market, and many more are expected to hit this year. Additionally, Google is continuing development on the newest version of the Android platform, which will provide more support for tablet devices. Android 3.0, otherwise known as Honeycomb, will be optimized for tablet support and have a new user interface for tablet devices. Here’s a look at 10 Android devices – some already on the market and some that have slipped.

Google - Motorola Tablet

Archos 101

Dell Streak 7

Lenovo LePad

Motorola Xoom

MSI WindPad

Notion Ink Adam

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Toshiba Tablet

ViewSonic G Tablet

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Filed under Android, Color, Dell, Google, Samsung, Tablet

Steve Jobs to join Murdoch on stage to unveil iPad paper (Update: DELAYED)


NEW YORK – News Corp. and Apple have delayed the launch of the media conglomerate’s much-anticipated iPad newspaper The Daily to fix kinks in the subscription platform that it plans to employ, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

It said the launch is weeks, not months, away.

The digital paper was supposed to be unveiled Wednesday by News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs at an event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“The app and the service work, it’s just getting them to talk to each other that needs more time,” a source familiar with the situation told the Journal.

Apple has been working on a way to let customers sign up for a subscription to a periodical in its iTunes store once and then get it delivered automatically to their iPad instead of requiring people to buy one issue at a time.

Rupert Murdoch will unveil News Corp.’s much-anticipated iPad newspaper onstage this month with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, The Cutline has learned.

The two media moguls will appear together at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, according to a source familiar with preparations for the event. The launch date is expected to be Jan. 19, but that may change.

Known as The Daily, Murdoch’s iPad publication has been the talk of the media world over the past couple months, and the News Corp. chief has even dubbed it his “No. 1 most exciting project.” The hush-hush project has been taking shape at the company’s Manhattan headquarters, but it will also have staffers in Los Angeles.

Jesse Angelo left Murdoch’s New York Post, where he was second in command, to run The Daily, and former Viacom digital distribution boss Greg Clayman came aboard to run the business side. Murdoch is reportedly willing to sink $30 million into the project.

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Book Saver From ION

Ion Audio is probably best known for creating those nifty turntables that help those of us who own vinyl records to conveniently convert them into a digital file format. Now, the company has used its digital conversion know-how to create a device that can scan a 200-page paper book and convert it into e-Reader format in 15 minutes. The Book Saver Book Scanner will allow you to quickly digitize your huge library of printed books or magazines for archiving on computer or to take on the road without weighing down your backpack or suitcase.

Many of my vinyl albums have never even made it to CD release, let alone become available in digital format for download from one of the many online stores. So it was with some relief that technology arrived which allowed me to record high quality digital copies of my treasured rarities and pop them onto my media player. One of those leading the charge was Ion Audio, who released record players with a USB cable that could be connected to a computer for handy digitization.

Now, the company is offering the same conversion convenience to owners of literary tomes. The Book Saver consists of an angled cradle, onto which is placed the printed novel, textbook or periodical requiring digital conversion. An upper frame sporting two cameras – one pointing at each page and each having a built-in flash – is placed on top of the publication in the cradle. A snap of each page is recorded at the press of a button, then the camera frame is lifted, the page turned and the whole process repeated until the last page is reached.

The digital conversion is stored directly onto an SD card, for onward viewing on an e-Reader or archiving to a computer. Whereas other devices that offer similar digitization can take up to seven seconds to scan one page, the Book Saver is said to capture its two-page digital representation in just one second.

As you can see from the following video demonstration, the whole process can be pretty quick if you develop a nice rhythm – even quicker if you have an extra pair of hands to turn the pages for you:

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Filed under Book, epaper, iPad, Print, Tablet

Digital Newsstands of Tomorrow

Newsstand of yesterday ...

Here’s a cheat sheet of what we know about potential newsstands so far.


Google is hoping to launch an e-newsstand selling publications for Android. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google has been in talks with publishers, including Time Inc., Condé Nast and Hearst. Sources say Google plans to go head to head with Apple by telling publishers it would take a smaller slice of sales than the 30 percent cut Apple typically takes on app sales. And Google plans to  be more open to providing customer data than Apple currently is (which admittedly isn’t saying much).
The plan is tentative at this point: Google wouldn’t confirm the report, stating only that they are continuing to talk to publishers about working together with technology or subscription services.


Nine months after the launch of the iPad, Apple is (still) reportedly developing a digital newsstand for publishers to allow them to sell magazines and newspapers. Speculation about the newsstand has been seeping out for months, but Apple hasn’t announced anything official. Some expect the plan to be unveiled in conjunction with the iPad 2 this month. Digital newsstands coming soon?
Apple is looking into offering subscriptions, but still keeping 30 percent of the tab, according to The WSJ (unconfirmed by Apple). At minimum, Apple seems ready to throw publishers a bone by sharing limited data about who downloads a publisher’s app. Publishing sources told MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka a similar story.


One thing we do know about Apple’s platform is that it won’t be called iNewsStand ― because that name is already taken by PixelMags, a digital publishing platform vendor. The company said this week that its pending iNewsStand application is scheduled to launch in the second quarter.
COO Ryan Marquis told Forbes the company will be iPad-only at launch but plans to support Android 3.0-based tablets and the Blackberry PlayBook. He isn’t offering other details but promises it will be a “massive game changer.”

Next Issue Media

“Game-changer” also happens to be the words Next Issue CEO Morgan Guenther used when referring to his company’s forthcoming digital storefront. The media consortium plans to offer a digital storefront for publishers early this year, and recently teamed up with Vindicia, a subscription management platform vendor that will provide billing options for the store.
Initially the storefront will provide digital editions for magazines and newspapers only for Android tablet devices. Other features Next Issue Media has teased but not officially announced include: bundled subscription options between print and digital (and maybe even across different publishers); the ability to purchase content from any device; and publisher access to owned or shared customer data.
It’s been more than a year since the joint venture was announced by Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc. We still don’t know much, but, alas, we somehow still know more about Next Issue than other platforms.
Publishers, no doubt, are looking forward to seeing what really is game-changing for digital publication sales. Did we miss any other newsstands that popped up while writing this post? If so, please let us know.

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Filed under Book, Magazine, Newspaper

Hanvon HPad

Amongst the products being shown off at CES by China’s e-Reader king and developer of handwriting recognition technology, Hanvon Technology, was the 7-inch HPad A116 tablet. The dual camera, multi-touch device runs on a customized version of Android and is powered by an ARM Cortex processor. There’s Wireless-N connectivity (with optional 3G) to connect to Hanvon’s own application portal or online bookstore and support for a range of common audio, video and text formats.

The HPad A116 runs on a customized flavor of Android 2.2 (Froyo) or 2.3 (Gingerbread), with access to over 5,000 apps via the company’s own application marketplace. Those wishing to use the device for reading could also head to the Hanvon online bookstore, which currently holds over 160,000 titles – with that figure set to increase at a rate of around 10,000 titles per month.

The 7.83 x 4.96 x 0.42-inch (199 x 126 x 10.8 mm) A116 is built around an aluminum-magnesium alloy frame with steel back cover, within which is the ARM Cortex A8 processor running at 1GHz, 512MB of memory and 2GB of NAND flash storage. Expansion is possible via the microSD slot. The device has a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution, 16:9 aspect, capacitive LCD touchscreen (with resistive as an option) with 1080p video support. There’s a 1.3 megapixel camera to the front and a 5 megapixel one to the rear.

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Blackberry Playbook on Sprint Summer 2011

It looks like Sprint is the first to grab the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, with the company adding it as its 18th 4G-capable device, and even slapping the 4G name on it–officially calling it the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook.

While we don’t have pricing or true availability (summer time), we do have some specs to get us started. First off, it will run the new BlackBerry Tablet OS, and will be powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, sport Wi-Fi, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, and HTML5

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