Rumor has it that Amazon will release an eInk-based color Kindle eReader later in 2012. The new Kindle will feature E Ink’s future color EPD panels rather than LCD displays, as featured on the Kindle Fire and many tablets. It will also have capacitive multi-touch panels.
The rumor comes courtesy of the DigiTimes, so take it with a grain of salt; and there have been previous rumors regarding a similar Amazon device going as far back as 2010, even before Apple introduced the iPad.
Color eInk and eInk-like displays are not new. E Ink Holdings, which makes the eInk screens seen on all Kindle models with the exception of the Fire, introduced one dubbed “Triton” in 2010. Also, the Qualcomm Mirasol display (pictured) has many features similar to color eInk.
eInk displays have many advantages over LCD, including stingy power requirements that enable the devices to go weeks between charges. Screen glare from overhead lights and the sun is also not a concern with eInk displays, as they do not feature a glossy display. Disadvantages include the need for an external light source to view in the dark. eInk displays are not backlit, though the NOOK Simple Touch Reader with Glowlight features an adjustable light source on top of the display to overcome this, as do some devices with Qualcomm Mirasol screens. Also, the relatively slow screen refresh rates with eInk make it difficult to watch video and play many games (Mirasol displays can support video).
There have also been rumors that Amazon plans to ship an eReader with Glowlight-type technology in the near future, perhaps on its near-future color eReader.