Digitimes claims that as the electrophoresis technology used to produce eBook reader screens matures the demand for color will pick up. Fujitsu already has a color eBook reader, the Flepia, on the market, but only available in Japan. Prime View International is expected soon to launch its own color electrophoretic display based on E-Ink’s color filter solution. And AU Optronics is developing a color e-paper without the use of color filters that is expected to start production by the end of 2010.
While Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader, with their gray-scale screens, have proven popular, color may be what’s needed for eBooks to become mainstream. Geoffery A. Fowler, of the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, sees color as opening the door to new content providers, such as magazines, which in turn could stimulate new demand for the devices.
Giving Amazon's Kindle and Kindle 2 some competition in the eBook market, Fujitsu has at long last released its full-color eBook reader called FLEPia. Fujitsu had first shown off the FLEPia in concept form back in 2006 and has been drumming up interest with periodic glimpses ever since.
The FLEPia comes in both black and white unit colors and features an 8-inch XGA (1024 x 768) touchscreen capable of displaying 260,000 colors. Other specs include 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth capability, embedded stereo speakers and a headphone connector, and an SD card memory card slot with support for up to 4GB, enough to hold 5,000 paper-based books 300-pages each.
Measuring less than a half an inch thick, Fujitsu says its FLEPia will last up to 40 continuous hours before having to be recharged. According to Fujitsu, the device doesn't require power to maintain a screen display because the color ePaper employed displays text and images by reflecting external light. The only time the FLEPia consumes power, says Fujitsu, is during re-draw, in which power consumption would be about 1/50 that of a standard notebook.
The Japanese version ships with Windows CE 5.0, giving end-users an internet browser, email, and other software.
The FLEPia starts shipping in Japan on April 20th for 99,750 Yen, which converts to a little over $1,000 USD.