Color e-Ink on the horizon for Amazon?

Hanvon color e-Ink display at CES2011

And just as we were getting comfortable with the Kindle Touch, here comes a rumor that Amazon is getting set to produce color e-Ink devices sometime this year.

In 2009, there was speculation about a color e-Ink Kindle in the offing while the first generation Kindle stock started dwindling to nothing. It was shot down by Bezos himself saying that he had seen the mockups and they weren’t pretty. He went on to say that a color e-Ink Kindle was “multiple years” away. This is 2012 and not, by any stretch of the imagination, “multiple” years … a mere 3. Could Bezos have been a little pessimistic about how soon the tech industry pulls up its socks?

As a gadget geek, I am intrigued with what a color e-Ink screen is likely to look like. The image in the linked article may or may not be an example image of a color e-Ink screen, there is no credit for the image so there is no way to tell for sure. However, I found an image from last year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show 2011) from a company called Hanvon that shows off what a color e-Ink screen looks like.

When Barnes and Noble’s Nook hit the market, the thought I heard the most was that the Nook “was what an eReader should be” – able to cater to not only eBooks but to magazines, newspapers, comics, and the like. There are people who consume newspapers and magazines as much as we bibliophiles devour books. That it was a backlit LCD touch screen was the drawback many were prepared to deal with in lieu of something less stressful on the eyes.

I don’t think I am the only one who finds it difficult to read on a backlit screen. I have been trying to do that since the HP iPaQs were the “in thing” and it hasn’t worked yet for me. I’ve worn glasses all my life and the e-Ink “feels” far less stressful on my eyes than the LCD screen of my phone. I am willing to admit that it might be mind over matter, but until I conquer that obstacle, I’ll keep on reading in e-Ink.

Of course, now that I’ve said that and to get back to the topic at hand, if there is a new Kindle in the offing for this year, how many of you bought one of the new Kindles and are now wondering if you were a little too hasty in doing so? Me? Nope – I am happy with my Kindle Touch. And I’ll keep on reading on it until I see the color e-Ink Kindle available on Amazon.com. In the meantime, we can dream…

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