When we look at the development of electronic paper, it is really disappointing to see how little progress has been made in this field in the last few years and the pace of this development clearly predicts that nothing is going to be changed in the coming years either.
The basic reason for this stagnant development is that E Ink enjoys unchallenged monopoly on literately all sorts of paper displays used in the ebook readers currently sold on markets across the world.
E Ink is famous for its monopoly of licensing its technology to the manufacturers, but there is absolutely no competition in their field and things looks virtually grim after E Ink announced that they will be buying the SiPix which is in fact the only competitor holding the most competition.
The screens produced by SiPix are quite similar to those of E Ink. Similar Electrophoretic technology has been used in both screens, but in a slightly different manner. We can spot the SiPix screens in few ebook readers, namely Pandigital Personal Reader and Cybook Orizon. However, the SiPix screens could not make their impact on the market.
Why SiPix screens couldn’t take off in the market has an obvious reason. There screens are quite inferior in quality than E Ink.
It is an obvious reality that SiPix did not have any chance to kick off, so E Ink buying out their sole competitor is not going to have any real effect over the market. Now the real issue is that E Ink has in fact zero competition. Although, iPas, LCD readers and tablets are providing a neck to neck competition, as long as devices like Kindle and Nook stay in vogue, nothing can challenge the dictatorship of E Ink in the rate of technological advancement.
It can be safely predicted after last few year’s performance, technological advancement in the electronic papers will continue at a lousy pace. In fact, E Ink has improved very slightly in the last five years. Pearl screens were introduced in the market two years ago with improved contrast, but this improvement can hardly be called a development as they just improved little over Vixplex screens and the difference is not even noticeable.
E Ink boasts of other e-screen types. They also make high definition screen with 300 dpi but this product has not made its presence in the market yet. Also E Ink offers colored paper screens which are quite low quality with dark and washed out colors. By the way things are heading, it seems that a quality colored E Ink is not going to come any time soon.
The future of electronic paper looks extremely grim because of the fact that E Ink has no competitors in the field of low –power display screens which can be used in bright sunlight. E Ink has some great products like E Ink Music Stand, but no better reader displays are on the way.
Maybe some other display technology can beat the stagnant road, but that doesn’t look too hopeful. Bridgestone and Mirasol have left the market while Pixel Qi is not at all a threat. It can only be hoped that some other company may rise to the challenge or we will be stuck to the same E Ink screens for many years to come.