PocketBook Unveils First eReader with Color E Ink Screen and Frontlight

PocketBook Color Frontlight eReader

Today PocketBook announced that they’ve got a new ebook reader in the works that uses a color E Ink screen combined with a frontlight.

A few prototypes of color E Ink screens with frontlights have made cameo appearances in video interviews with E Ink, so it was just a matter of time before a company decided to give it a try. So far color E Ink hasn’t been very successful because it requires high ambient light on the screen for decent coloration, otherwise colors appear dim and washed out. Hopefully the frontlight can solve that problem.

But that’s not the only hurdle PocketBook’s new ebook reader needs to overcome to be successful. Given the early specs of the screen, there’s some question as to how it will stack up to newer ereaders like the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo that are using high-res 1024×758 E Ink screens.

According to the press release, PocketBook is using a second generation E Ink Triton display. But unlike previous models that use 9.7″ screens, PocketBook is using an 8-inch Triton display. It supports 4096 colors and has a resolution of 800×600, which equates to 125 pixels per inch, or about 87 less ppi than the Kindle and Kobo. Not only that but it uses a capacitive touchscreen, which are known to slightly degrade screen clarity.

Don’t take the picture above as an accurate representation. Companies always modify product images to look better. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire image is fake; the grass in the background certainly is.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what it looks like in person when it’s released to know for sure how the screen is going to stack up. Unfortunately it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get the opportunity since PocketBook has seemingly withdrawn from the US market entirely.

On the positive side we know that it’s going to have PocketBook’s advanced firmware that is PDF friendly and provides support for a laundry list of formats.

PocketBook’s new reader with a color E Ink screen and frontlight is expected to enter the CIS market in June 2013.

9 Responses to “PocketBook Unveils First eReader with Color E Ink Screen and Frontlight”

  1. Wow, this is a good sign of a positive trend in e-readers! I look forward to reviews.

  2. I’d like to see the hacks to get this to run Android 4.0 🙂

  3. Nathan, does PocketBook make a decent standard eReader?

    This project looks dead-on-arrival if you ask me. I doubt we will see it released widely, especially if it is priced high.

    • PocketBook makes some really nice ereaders, and their software is about on par with Onyx. I always wished they would put more of an effort in the US market, but I can see why they don’t with everyone else selling their ereaders so cheap in the US and making it up on ebook sales, whereas PB’s ebookstore is not very good at all. I still have the PocketBook 602 and it’s a really nice ereader.

  4. I’ve had a Pocketbook 602 since November 2010. It’s a solid e-reader. A bit under-featured in terms of RAM and internal storage, but real dependable. Been going strong on its original user-replaceable battery for 2 years. Also has a micro-SD card slot and reads a lot of file formats.

    I read at goodereader.com about Pocketbook’s scaling back from the North American market. Not sure what my options will be when I have to replace the 602’s maH battery. It has a proprietary shape for screwing into the device. The 602’s battery life is great (measures in weeks, rather than hours). I doubt that I’ll be able to get a new Pocketbook with Color EInk here in Colorado Springs, but any idea how Color Eink affects battery life?

    • Color E Ink uses the same technology so battery life is roughly the same, but the frontlight will drain more. It still should get a couple of weeks per charge at least like the other frontlight ereaders. And hey, I was just down in the Springs yesterday!

  5. I agree in that this picture may not be the real deal, but it’s a good illustration of what a color e-ink screen should look like in order to be considered a viable competitor to LED backlit TFT.