“Super Phones” going to kill E-Book Readers based on E-Ink

There is a lot of noise lately about web tablets, because of the upcoming web tablet of Apple the iSlate.

The web tablet is something in between your laptop and your mobile phone, just like a netbook. So you can see web tablet as a netbook without a physical keyboard. I believe that the tablet and the netbook will merge into one device. Basically a “Super Phone” with or without a physical keyboard with a screen size somewhere between 6 and 11 inch.

Because of its size the “Super Phone” would also be ideal for reading e-books. And who wants to carry around yet another device. However current LCD screens are not  nice to read from and consume a lot of power. However there are some promising display technologies coming up. One of them is Pixel Qi. They are working on improving the display technology developed by the OLPC project to make LCDs readable in sunlight and improve their power consumption. They are now shipping 10.1″ screens. See video below.

Notion Ink showed a prototype of a “Super Phone” with Pixel Qi screen at the CES. See video below

It seems that the touch screen causes some extra glare which does not help for readability. But if they can improve that or use Wacom technology with a stylus instead (The wacom touch technology goes below the screen instead of on top of the screen like fingertouch technologies) I think it could be a serious E-Book killer.

Also exciting is that this “Super Phone” is running Android so it will have instantly many applications available.

A slight disadvantage of Pixel Qi is that you need to switch the screen between e-book (monochrome) mode and full LCD color mode.

However there are display technologies in the works that can deliver the wholy grail: video in color with the readability of paper. Liquavista is developing such technology but its not that mature yet according to their website they will productize it in 2010/2011 but it looks very promising. See video below.

I’m curious to see what kind of display technology the Apple iSlate will have.