At last!

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) started up last week in Las Vegas, and all the big companies showed up to unveil the new goodies they’ve been working on.

One of the items that caught my eye in the news from CES was the new Sony Reader. Yes, yes, I put a Boycott Sony sign on my blog before Christmas. I’m still not planning to buy any of their stuff for a good long while. But this product is important for a number of reasons.

It’s going to be one of the first devices available in the US that uses electronic ink technology. When you first look at the Reader, it looks like a billion other PDAs. It’s got a flip cover, a screen that takes up most of the front, and some jacks and controls on the side. What the pictures don’t really show you is the quality of the display. Electronic ink is not like an LCD screen. It works by sending a charge through the display and causing itty-bitty particles to re-orient themselves to display a very high resolution black-and-white image. (I don’t think this one supports color yet.) Because the images are displayed by actually reconfiguring the display rather than by illuminating it, the reader only uses power when you’re “flipping pages”. If you turn it off or the batteries die, whatever image is on it will stay there. And the resolution is theoretically as good as a printed page in a book.

I probably won’t buy the Sony version of this technology, but I will absolutely be buying something that uses this kind of display as soon as I can.

No Responses to “At last!”

  1. andrea kanten Says:

    is that similar to what neal stephanson was writing about in The Diamond Age (albeit far more prmitive)? I never quite follow all of the scientific explanations in his writing (part thru boredom, part thru ignorance).