E Ink displays are great for saving battery, just look at Kindle - but they lack colour to be an LCD or OLED replacement for phones and tablets. Until now.
The big brains over at Chalmers University of Technology have cracked open a world of colours that can be displayed on epaper. The new wonder screen is also ultra thin, flexible and uses ten times less energy than a Kindle's display.
The screen works much like a current E Ink display in that there is no light produced but rather the screen is read by reflecting the ambient light around it - much like paper. To simplify the science: electrically conductive polymers cover the surface and change how the light is absorbed and reflected allowing for varying colours of high resolution images and text.
All this means that future phones and tablets could have displays that use a fraction of current screen energy - something that's responsible for a lot of your battery drain. The displays will also work better in sunlight thanks to the nature of the screen's ability to utilise light rather than only reflect it.
So, what's the catch? This is still early days, in-lab phase stuff. The team has only built a few basic examples of the material but are confident it can be scaled up easily.
That said a lot of the materials required are gold and silver so we'd imagine this will be an expensive option if it does make it into the mainstream. Worst case scenario you may see this on advertising posters of the near future.