eBook readers like the Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and the Barnes & Noble Nook have received high praise for their simplicity and visual benefits for their use of e-paper displays or EPDs. However, these strengths also have their own weaknesses, such as the inability to display colors or doing much other than just reading e-books. However, this is no longer the case these days, as many eReaders use Android for more functionality. And then there is the new generation of EPDs that show some colors, like the new PocketBook InkPad Color, which is finally finding its way into international markets.
E Ink, a leading supplier of e-paper displays, has long been working on adding a splash of color to the technology. The fruit of this work is the E Ink Kaleido, perhaps the first commercially available display of its kind that can display 4,096 colors. It’s a skimpy number compared to the millions of colors LCD and OLED screens can do, but it still serves a different market than phones and tablets.
The PocketBook InkPad Color is still a thoroughly eReader, just one that can display just enough colors to enjoy comics and magazines without tiring your eyes too much. It’s definitely not the first color eReader, but, after LiliputingIt is the first to come in a larger 7.8-inch size. However, given the limitations of E-Ink Kaleido technology, colors can only be displayed at a relatively low density of 100 ppi compared to 300 ppi when displaying only grayscale.
The InkPad Color also differs from the current generation of eReaders in that it doesn’t run Android and instead uses a custom Linux operating system. While it does limit the functionality of the device, it helps keep it simple and requires less hardware to run.
There have been a few color e-readers around, but the PocketBoo InkPad Color is also one of the few available in global markets, particularly through Amazon and Newegg. The $ 329 price tag might make some longtime eReader users hold back, but that’s currently the price they’ll have to pay to add some color to the otherwise drab screen.