Introducing Carta: E Ink’s Latest Gen E-Paper Display Technology


Today E Ink officially introduced their latest epaper display technology designed primarily for ebook readers. Carta is an upgrade from Pearl displays that come on most current E Ink ereaders.

According to E Ink, Carta brings a 50 percent improvement in contrast. The contrast ratio has been bumped from 10:1 up to 15:1. Reflectivity has also improved from 40.7% to 44%. Essentially what all that means is blacks are darker and the background color is whiter. Carta displays are using a new electronic ink formulation to achieve this.

In addition to better contrast, Carta displays are specifically tuned for reading applications supporting “E Ink Regal waveform technology”, which is designed to dramatically reduce the need for full page refresh between page turns.

This is the first I’ve heard of Regal waveform technology. It sounds like it’s also supported by Pearl displays because both Kobo and Sony mention significantly less page refreshes on their new models, the Sony PRS-T3 and Kobo Aura. But neither of those are using Carta screens.

The only ebook reader currently using the new Carta screens is the Kindle Paperwhite 2. Hopefully a new E Ink Nook gets in on the action too, but so far there’s been no details or leaks about a new E Ink Nook.

One interesting detail I noticed about the new Kindle Paperwhite yesterday when the product page first went live before Amazon officially announced the device was the specs initially called the new screen “Opal technology”. Shortly after the official announcement it got changed to “Carta e-paper technology”.

I wonder if it was initially going to be called Opal instead of Carta. Pearl to Opal makes a little more sense than Pearl to Carta.

When E Ink went from Vizplex to Pearl a few years back, the main improvement was slightly better contrast, meaning the background color got lighter and the text got darker. It sounds like the move from Pearl to Carta is going to be about the same difference. There’s isn’t going to be a huge amount of improvement, but it should be noticeable with the two screen technologies side-by-side.

I look forward to doing some comparisons when the new Kindle Paperwhite arrives, except if it’s like last year’s model and there’s no way to turn the light off completely it could make it harder to compare.

E Ink Carta

13 Responses to “Introducing Carta: E Ink’s Latest Gen E-Paper Display Technology”

  1. I was thinking… is this really a “new generation”? And why just Amazon got it? Ain’t that a little disloyal with kobo and sony? (and any other minor player, for the matter…)

    My question comes for the incremental update, that doesn’t seem all that great (given we’ve not seen it, obviously) and the fact that E Ink was under pressure for not getting a new tech soon enough (Pearl has some 3 years, if I recall correctly) Maybe it’s just an upgrade in the road, that became a new generation for commercial sake.

    The thing about Amazon being the only one getting it really has me puzzled… If I was Serbinis, who supposedly believe Amazon would not be able to get the new tech this soon, I’d be really upset.

    • I’m a little surprised that Kobo did not get it. As for Sony I am not, as they seem intent on staying years behind the other major names.
      In the meantime I’d like to see a video of this new screen technology.

  2. I found some comparison pictures of the old and new Kindle Paperwhite on Pocket-Lint demonstrating the Carta E-Ink.

  3. It is good enough for me!

  4. Looks nicer, yes

  5. It appears to have noticeably better contrast in the Pocket-Lint videos. I am not sure what anybody could do to make a quantum improvement in black and white eInk. Any real “next generation” I would think would have to be color. I am not sure color is worth it in a six inch reader size. A 9.7″ or 10″ color eInk might be worth if for magazines, but a six inch is just too small to really need color.

  6. What I’d like is a way to retrofit my existing Sony PRS-T1 with one of these. I expect the control interface hasn’t changed, much. The display drivers might need a tweak.

    I don’t expect Sony would do this. They’d rather sell me a new device.

  7. Good E Reader posted up a new article about the supposed “Truth Behind E-Ink Regal and Carta”.

  8. Sorry for the double post but I found a video from CNET showing the Paperwhite 2 in action.

  9. I would look at the spec sheet for Carta. What’s interesting is it indicates the resolution is greater than 300dpi. If this is true then you have a noticeable improvement in terms of upper end resolution since Pearl was 150dpi. I’m wondering if the Kobo Aura has the Carta e-ink screen.

    Nathan, what’s your take on this since you have a Kobo Aura.

    • Kobo Aura uses E-Ink Pearl while Carta is (so far) exclusive only to the PW2.

    • I saw that too. It’s the upper end possibilities. Not sure where you got 150 dpi; Pearl can go up to 300 dpi, and Carta can go greater than 300 dpi. I don’t have a Kobo Aura yet (they have started shipping them yet).