Plastic Logic has serious plans for your e-reader. Revealed during a tour of the company's Cambridge-based research and development facility was a new e-paper capable of playing back video in colour.
Never before seen on e-readers, the screen was able to run video at 12 frames per second. While not being quite the speed of conventional television and movie content, it was smooth enough to be convincing. Pocket-lint was given a brief play with the technology and it reminded us more of an animated GIF than normal video.
The possibilities the colour playback provides add so much to what e-readers can already do. Running at 12 frames per second means the screen updates itself rapidly. So rather than the standard e-reader on/off stuttering, you get a much smoother experience. This means in theory things like Flash content and web browsing could be a lot better.
Right now the colour technology isn't quite up to scratch, looking fairly dull and faded compared to the bright TFT and OLED displays of smartphones. That said, it is important to remember it's a technology in its infancy and one which uses barely any power compared to a smartphone or tablet.
Plastic Logic also had on display a non-colour variant of the video-capable e-paper. This ran at a slightly higher clip of around 14 frames per second. The demo unit was also a lot smaller, clearly intended to replace standard screens in mobile devices.
What was most impressive about the screens was that both were totally flexible because they are put together using Plastic Logic's clever plastic transistor tech. We could do things like wrap the e-paper round our arm and it would continue to play back content.
Right now Plastic Logic is in talks with other e-reader manufacturers regarding the new technology, so who knows, it could start turning up in an e-reader near you soon enough.
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