ECTACO Info | E Ink strategic value proposition: displays on every smart surface

Posted by http://lazure2.wordpress.com

autor: Nacsa Sándor

EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN)report.
Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.
EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.
At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]
So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.
Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].
The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:
“Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp.E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”
See: E INK ANNOUNCES MOBILE PHONE DESIGN WINS IN JAPAN [July 22, 2008]
When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:
“The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”
See: PRIME VIEW INTERNATIONAL (PVI) IS NOW E INK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED [June 18, 2010]
And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:
E Ink On Every Smart Surface [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]
Exclusive 17-minute interview with E Ink’s CMO at CES, where they showed me a Triton color display for signage with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. I also saw the SURF display used in a hand drill which has not been filmed before. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson. The Triton color display based Ectaco eReader that had just won the CES innovation award, it is being deployed in Russian schools. New E Ink watches from Phosphor and Seiko. Finally, the Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched this week was demonstrated, it is considered to be indestructible. E Ink has shipped over 25 million E Ink screens for e-readers alone in 2011, that’s up from 10 million screens in 2010 and 4 million screens in 2009. Now E Ink is also working to expand into new markets, signage, appliances, everywhere. The idea is that more and more devices and surfaces may get an E Ink screen on them that thus by being bi-stable can show the informations for a long time without using any battery. While many electronic paper technology companies show samples, E Ink is actually in mass production with monochrome, color and segmented displays and they claim that no technology in the world comes close to the reading experience on E Ink’s displays and these displays are easy on the eyes since they don’t have a shiny background or light emitting backlight.
The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:
  1. Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
  2. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
  3. With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
  4. Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
  5. Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
  6. Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
  7. The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
  8. A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
  9. Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
  10. A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
  11. For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.
After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:
    • Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
  • E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
    E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you See, the more you Do
    • … Evolution is a collaborative process …
    • We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
    • We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
    • We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
  • The Second Law of More – Growth:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
    • 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
    • today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
    • Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
    • The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
    • Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
  • The Third Law of More – Green:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
    • Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
    • E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
    • Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
    • A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2 than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
    • This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …
Also important to see E Ink’s video about:
How E Ink Works [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Oct 17, 2011]
Ever wonder how your eReader screen works? The ePaper display is made with E Ink, which is basically black and white particles inside small microcapsules. Watch to learn how E Ink technology works!
As well as another video about:
E Ink Color Triton technology [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Sept 23, 2011]
Watch to learn about E Ink Triton, the only commercially available color electronic paper display, and see how E Ink technology works!
Finally there are two important electronic paper product demos:
E Ink Electronic Paper Display Products [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]
E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba explains E Ink products – electronic paper displays. The displays are both monochrome (Pearl) and color (Triton), up to 300dpi high resolution, and in several sizes.
E Ink Products/Concepts Tour at FPD [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]
E Ink Director of Product Management Giovanni Mancini takes us on a tour at the 2011 FPD show in Yokohama, Japan. He shows us the new all plastic eReader, E Ink and LED road sign, Epson music stand with foot pedals that turn the page, and Toppan E Ink tags that update without batteries!
Then comes:
- Ectaco jetBook Color on Fox News [ECTACO YouTube channel, Jan 24, 2012]
An edited clip showing the jetBook Color on Fox News at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas. The jetBook Color was the CES 2012 Innovations Award winner.
- ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]
PLEASE TURN ON CC [Red] FOR ENGLISH CAPTIONS Introduction of Ectaco’s groundbreaking new jetBook Color in in Public School #239, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Презентация первой в мире электронной книги ECTACO jetBook COLOR в рамках проекта “О переходе на электронное образование” в школе №239, города Санк-Петербурга, Россия. Учитель и ученики делятся своими впечатлениями от полученного опыта.
- William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:
Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]
Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.
Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]
E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.
Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.

The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.
The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.
ECTACO Info.
www.ectaco.cz

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