The prototype video is great, because it seems to go against all logic, or at least what we know about it: a laptop that does not have a conventional display (LCD or OLED) but an e-ink panel (like a Kindle, the ebook reader) but which moves almost with the agility of a classic screen. The video is that of a prototype of the Paper Laptop, manufactured by the American firm Modos.
Anyone who has used a Kindle or other brand device (including the Noblex or Eudeba which were sold at some point in the country) knows that e-ink screens have a great attraction but also a huge conif we think about how a computer is used today.
In favour: the e-ink displays consume very little power -a key theme in any portable device- because they only use it when changing the polarity of the small black and white spheres that compose them and that form the pixels of the screen; and they have a visibility that improves all the more as there is ambient light, which reduces eye fatigue (we do not look directly at a light source, as on a screen, but at the reflection). This movement of spheres is what generates the text on an electronic ink screen. Since it was born to display static text, which only requires a change every few minutes (when we turn the page), it doesn’t bother much that the update process is slow (and noticeable, and sometimes leaves a “ghost” of the previous image).
But this play against if you want to see a video or an animationtwo key elements of any interaction with a modern computer, whether it is to visit a site, chat with someone, watch a video, play a game or simply move around in a graphical environment.
Therefore the E-ink screens have not been very successful as video display elements.. In recent years, however, this has changed: in addition to increasing its resolution (the number of dots per inch displayed on the screen, and allowing images and text of better visual quality), the latest versions add color , and greatly improve its refresh rate. rate, i.e. the time it takes to create an image.
This is precisely what Modos takes advantage of with this new design: if it achieves something close to the movement of a normal screen, it could allow a device that can be used in very bright places (outdoors, for example, ignoring Billy Bond’s request half a century ago). Today you can use an ordinary laptop in the sun, of course: but the screen must compete in brightness with the sun (even when you are in the shade, the ambient light is very strong), and this has an impact very negative on the screen. An e-ink panel, on the other hand, benefits: it will look better than ever.
The company told Gizmodo that it hits something close to 60 frames per second, so the difference between a conventional screen and this e-ink screen is just a matter of color, not what it looks like. movement.
Other companies have gone down similar routes, with dissimilar results: the Yotaphone was a smartphone that had two faces, one with a classic display and the other with an e-ink panel to display mostly static content ( text, map, notifications). A few years ago, Hisense introduced a smartphone with color e-ink as the only screen.
This year, Huawei presented its MatePad Paper, a tablet with a 10-inch electronic ink screen that allows you to read texts, write on the screen and add Android applications of all kinds. Of course, it’s not geared towards gaming, as is Remarkable 2, another tablet with an e-ink display and designed purely for reading text and taking handwritten notes; this optimization allows for an ultra-thin profile and enormous battery life.
And last April E Ink (the company that manufactures all these electronic ink panels) presented Gallery 3, its most successful version: it can display 50,000 colors, the refresh rate is the highest to date (350 ms for white to black and 1500ms color; early panels took 2 seconds to update) and the screen can even be folded away. All this while keeping the two classic keys of the electronic ink screen: excellent visibility in the sun, and low energy consumption.
Falta ver dónde quedará este prototipo de Modos (por ahora siguen buscando interesados): pero si logran una pantalla que se mueve à un ritmo más o menos decente, la combinación de visibilidad y autonomy debería resultar en un device attractive para quienes se animen a trabajar outdoors.
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