Chinese manufacturer Hanvon is to unleash the world's first colour E Ink ebook reader over at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo.

Whilst there has been colour ebook readers before (most notably the recently announced colour Nook), these have featured a colour LCD screen, and not colour E Ink technology - which is what Hanvon's 9.68-inch device is boasting.

"Colour is the next logical step for E Ink", said Vinita Jakhanwal, an analyst at iSuppli. "Every display you see, whether it’s a TV or a cellphone, is in colour".

Amazon and Sony, two of the biggest players in the ebook reader market, have yet to announce any concrete details regarding their plans for coloured devices, although Amazon does offer colour-based ebooks for its iPad app, and Sony has admitted that "on a list of things that people want in e-readers, colour always comes up".

However, it is thought that the big boys are waiting for the technology to advance so as coloured E Ink is more vibrant - at the moment the colour is described as "muted".

Sriram K. Peruvemba, an E Ink vice president, is adamant that a device launch could cause a domino effect though. "I’m convinced that a lot of times it takes one company to prove the market", he said.

Hanvon is the largest seller of ebook readers in China with a 78 per cent share of the market. The colour E Ink reader will be available in March 2011 and will cost about $440.