Sunday, September 12, 2010

Colored E-Readers Coming Soon?

Are the black and white e-readers going the way soon of the black and white TV?

Erm. Once more, I've dated myself.

For those of you too young to know, yes, there was a time when buying a TV was a choice between black and white and colored. Of course, the colored TV's were more expensive, but seeing as they provided a better viewing experience to the market, they won out, and companies eventually stopped manufacturing black and white TV's.

The same goes for computer monitors. For those of you who are even much younger, there was a time when computer monitors were also offered in monochrome (green, black and white, even blue) versus colored. Just like with TV's, the colored ones won out, and now, I don't think anyone makes monochrome monitors anymore.

And for those of you who are even much, much younger, there was a time when all cellphones had black and white LCD screens. Some companies still manufacture these for the lower-end market, but for the most part, almost all screens now are made in color.

And for those of you who are even much, much, much...well, you get the idea...even iPods and other mp3 players with screens started out as black and whites.

So, I suppose, it was inevitable that the same would happen to E-readers; and given the speed of change in technology nowadays, it hasn't taken long for this to happen.

Check out this article: Reading E-books In All The Colors Of The Rainbow. An excerpt:

Now that stronghold of austere black letters is crumbling. “We expect companies to market color e-book readers if not by the holidays, then soon after,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst specializing in consumer product strategies at Forrester, the market research company. “And some consumers will definitely opt for them.”

Of course, even with their current, monochromatic text, e-book readers have already been strong sellers, said Vinita Jakhanwal, director of small and medium displays at the market researcher iSuppli. Worldwide shipments have risen quickly — to 11 million in 2010, from 5 million in 2009, she said, with 15 million predicted for 2011.

But the popularity of the Apple iPad, on which people can read books, surf the Internet, watch videos and enjoy thousands of apps — all in full color — has shaken up the market. “It’s forced e-book reader manufacturers to innovate,” said Paul Semenza, a senior vice president for DisplaySearch, an industry researcher in Santa Clara, Calif.

Major e-reader companies like Amazon.com, which sells the Kindle, and Barnes & Noble, seller of the Nook, have not announced that they are offering color versions, or that they are committed to a specific technology for doing so. But some smaller entrants in the market have said they will be using liquid crystal displays, just as the iPad does.

There are some major differences right now between the monochrome and the colored E-readers if we are just taking plain text into account. The monochrome ones consume less power and have better battery-life, can be read in bright sunlight, and to a certain extent, mimic the look of paper. The colored ones consume more power and so have poorer battery life; and reading for extended periods of time does strain the eyes more than the monochromes. However, you get full color, so outside of plain text, other reading material that rely on colored images (comics, magazines) can be turned into the proper E-reader format.

But that's for right now. If the advantages of both colored and black and white E-readers can be meshed, we consumers can only benefit. Hopefully, that time is coming soon.

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