Sony's New Color E-Paper Screen Shows That We're Not Quite There Yet

There’s no denying that the latest cool displays are making important advances. But that doesn’t mean they’re quite ready for prime time. Take the flexible, 13.3″ color e-paper being shown by Sony over at SID right now. Without a doubt it’s cool stuff, but be honest — would you buy something using it? Not just yet.

This is the reason color e-readers are still LCD-based (and as a consequence, essentially tablets) — the color e-paper is still extremely limited tonally. With a limited number of shades and generally washed out colors, even the cutting edge tech would be unimpressive to consumers. The benefits of bistable displays aren’t readily appreciated by people just looking for a cool e-reader or tablet, so for now they’ll be limited to trade shows like this one.

Still, they’re getting these things mighty thin and light, and the flexibility is a plus, at least if it’s flexible enough to roll or fold. I’m sure as hell looking forward to that. I’d mention the specs but the report at Tech-On seems to be talking about something different than the one they have a picture of, so you’ll have to figure that out on your own.