Ina Fried

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E Ink Hopes New Display Will Help It Nab Share of Wearable Market Everyone Is Talking About

Flexible display maker E Ink is trying to think small.

Sonostar smartwatch-feature

The company, best known for making the display used on the Kindle and other e-readers, has been trying to find a range of new markets for its screens as the large-screen market shifts increasingly to full color products such as the Kindle Fire and Nook HD.

E-reader screens, like those made by E Ink, are already being used on a variety of other products, such as wireless hotspots and retail shelf displays.

But with all the talk around wearables, the Taiwanese company wants to make sure it has a spot on the wrist of the future. On Monday the company detailed a new 1.73-inch display aimed specifically at this market. The first product with the display is the Sonostar Smartwatch, which was announced on Monday at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

The new E Ink display features a 320-by-240-pixel resolution, with 16 grayscale levels.

Lots of companies, including Apple, have expressed interest in the wearable market — particularly watches. The question remains, however, whether the low power consumption and better sunlight readability of E Ink’s shades of gray will enable such displays to win out over the perennial appeal of color.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik