New E-Readers

The leading electronic readers, Amazon’s ­Kindle and Sony’s Reader, have greatly increased interest in e-books but share a ­couple of limitations: they are rigid, and they display only in black and white.

Earlier this year, startup Plastic Logic introduced an e-reader that uses polymer electronics to create a flexible display that is the size of a standard sheet of paper. Coming next are two e-readers that will offer some benefits previously missing: one features a color display, and the other is a pocket-size gadget with a screen that rolls up.

Roll-up Reader

The Readius, made by Philips spinoff Polymer Vision of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is the size of a cell phone and sports a rollable screen that stows away. The display uses the same black-and-white microcapsule display technology that’s used in the Kindle and the Sony Reader, but the capsules are applied to paper-thin flexible plastic and controlled by electronics made of polymer organic semiconductors. The Readius is expected to reach market later this year.

Courtesy of Polymer Vision

Product: Readius

Cost: Not available Availability: Later this year


Company: Polymer Vision

Reading in Color

The FLEPia, made by Fujitsu, is the first color electronic reader to hit the market. Its screen technology is a stripped-down version of traditional liquid-crystal displays. Instead of using a backlight, it reflects ambient light from red, blue, and green crystals arranged in separate layers (in conventional LCDs, the three colors sit side by side). The crystals are arranged in a way that makes them transparent when not in use; electric currents change their orientation to make them reflect different colors. The reader has a touch screen that can be used with a stylus. The device was scheduled to go on sale in Japan in April.

Courtesy of Fujitsu

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From the latest smartphones to advances in quantum computing, the hardware behind today's digital age is rapidly changing.

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