PORTLAND, Ore. The original designer of the electronic-paper display for Sony's eBook and Amazon.com's Kindle model claim to have one-upped those devices with improved technology for its own third-generation iRex 1000 Digital Reader.
Using an ASIC twice as fast and eight times more energy efficient than components used in second-generation devices, iRex claims its e-ink handheld aims to replace paper for many mainstream uses.
"With generation three, we have achieved a hardware platform that is fully utilizing all the capabilities of e-ink displays, and is capable of replacing most uses of paper today," claimed iRex CEO Hans Brons.
Philips Electronics N.V. (Netherlands) designed e-paper subsystems, using media from E-Ink Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.) for first-generation digital readers. Philips then licensed manufacturing to Prime View International of Taiwan. In 2005, Philips stopped supplying subsystems to Sony and Amazon, instead spinning off iRex Technologies (Eindhoven), which announced their second-generation technology for an 8-inch digital reader called the iLiad in 2006.
|Pen input allows users to circle, underline and write notes on e-paper in the same way as traditional paper.|
The third-generation iRex 1000 is being touted as solving outstanding problems that have prevented widespread adoption of e-ink paper displays. Brons claimed the iRex 1000 is the only e-paper device that user an write on, "emulating all the functions of paper."
First generation e-ink displays were slow to load pages and extremely slow at pen-input, relegating them to read-only applications that only occasionally refreshed the display. Second-generation devices improved the page loading speed, allowing only that part of a display that changed to be refreshed, thereby permitting pop-up menus and limited use of pen input.