With Microsoft's Surface, Google's Nexus, Barnes & Noble's Nook and Amazon's Fire all copying Apple's iPad by using a battery-draining full-color LCD display, analysts were predicting the demise E-Ink's paper-white B&W display that extends battery life for eBooks from days to weeks. Nevertheless, the E-Ink display continues to be used by ultra-inexpensive and feather-light eBooks, as evidenced by Epson's recent release of a complete integrated controller module which simplifies the eBook designer's job: R. Colin Johnson
Here is what Epson says about its E-Ink controller: Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson", TSE: 6724), a global supplier of imaging products and semiconductor solutions, today announced a newly developed e-paper display (EPD) controller module. The S4E5B001B000A00, which measures only 2.3 cm x 2.3 cm, consists of the key electronics elements necessary for an E Ink EPD-based product such as Epson's high-performance EPD controller (S1D13522), a power management IC (PMIC), 4-Mbit flash memory for command/waveform storage, and an on-board 26-Mhz crystal oscillator.
The EPD controller (S1D13522) mounted on the module is an industry-proven multi-pipeline EPD controller that has already been widely adopted by various e-book manufacturers. It reduces CPU overheads for EPD applications by allowing multi-regional and concurrent display updates, picture-in--picture, rotation, transparency and hardware cursor functions to achieve the optimal display experience.
Epson believes that the S4E5B001B000A00 is an ideal choice for any customer who seeks to easily develop EPD applications without needing to go through a complex technical learning process, and which has the potential to accelerate time-to-market for EPD-related products.
"We applaud Epson for constantly innovating their semiconductor offerings," said Sri Peruvemba, CMO, E Ink. "The new module will reduce design time and complexity for customers and will help open up new markets."
"In recent years, Epson has mainly concentrated on providing unique EPD controller products to e-book customers. Our next goal is to expand our product lineup to include industrial and other promising new applications," said Kazuhiro Takenaka, deputy chief operating officer of Epson's Microdevices Operations Division. "Customers are already designing products using our module and we expect to see many more opportunities as we move forward."
To further assist customers integrate EPDs into their products CPU companies expect to release reference designs featuring the S4E5B001B000A00 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Samples of the S4E5B001B000A00 are available from today, and production is expected to start in December 2012.
Epson plans to demo the S4E5B001B000A00 at Electronica 2012 in Munich, Germany (November 13 to 16).