New E Ink Gallery displays could finally make full-color e-readers good

Enlarge / E Ink’s Gallery 3 screen technology could make color e-readers less compromised than they have been to date. (credit: E Ink)

E-readers like Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite have great battery life and are easy on the eyes, but they still have one big shortcoming: They’re only capable of black-and-white output. The E Ink Corporation, the company behind the screen tech that powers most e-readers, offers color products, but most of them have suffered from odd color casts, long refresh times, and low pixel density.

That could change with the introduction of Gallery 3, a new color E Ink display technology that promises better color reproduction and dramatically faster page refresh times than its predecessor. The first E Ink Gallery display took two seconds to refresh a page of black-and-white content and 10 seconds to refresh a color page—that’s acceptable if you’re using it for signage, but it’s an eternity if you’re trying to read a magazine or graphic novel. Gallery 3 promises refresh times of just 0.5 seconds in its fastest low-quality color mode or 1.5 seconds in its high-quality color mode.

Gallery 3’s 300 PPI pixel density is also comparable to current black-and-white e-reader screens, and both text and images will appear visibly sharper than they did on previous-generation 150 PPI screens. Black-and-white content can refresh in just 0.35 seconds, and the screens also support pen input for e-readers that let you mark up PDFs and other documents.

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