E-Ink News: Let us review the products that used E-Ink technology earlier than Kindle in those years!

In recent years, when people talk about E-Ink, they usually think of e-readers at the first time, and then they say: it is Kindle! Indeed, Amazon Kindle can be regarded as the most representative of products using E-Ink technology.

Back on November 19, 2007, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the official launch of the first-generation Kindle, the world was still full of strangeness and doubts about this thing. As a result, the Kindle, which is priced at $399 and the first batch of 90,000 units, was sold out in 5.5 hours! It became a historic scene and made Kindle synonymous with e-readers.

The first generation Kindle. (Image: Wikipedia)

But in fact, Sony from Japan was the first to use e-ink screens to develop e-readers. They released the Sony Librie EBR-1000EP as early as April 2004, an e-reader with a 6-inch E-Ink screen, a resolution of 600x800, 170PPI, and only 10MB of memory! The 300-gram model is only available in Japan for ¥41,790 ( approximately $260).

Sony Librie EBR-1000EP (Photo: Sony)

In 2006 and 2007, Sony also launched the follow-up models PRS-500 and PRS-505. The screen size remained 6 inches, but it was lighter and thinner, and the memory was also expanded. The price was 299 US dollars, which came earlier than the first generation Kindle. .

Left: PRS-500                               Right: PRS-505
(Image: the ebook reader.com) (Image: Wikipedia)

In 2006, iRex Technologies from the Netherlands released an e-reader different from the Sony series, an 8.1-inch E-Ink screen, iLiad (model: ER0100) equipped with Wacom handwriting function , and a resolution of 1024x728, 160PPI. In addition to the plug-in card, it is also equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack (!). The size, equipment and functions of this model were quite avant-garde and unique in the market at that time, and the price was quite astonishing 649 euros/699 dollars! In the following years, iRex also launched follow-up models, and even launched a 10-inch model. Unfortunately, iRex declared bankruptcy in 2010 due to poor sales and depleted liquidity.

iRex iLiad ER0100 (Image: mobileread)

In addition to e-readers, in fact, before 2007, a brand with great foresight and courage launched the world's first watch with an E-Ink screen, and that was Seiko. In January 2006, they released an E-Ink watch Seiko Spectrum, which looks like a bracelet and has a curved E-Ink screen on the front to display the time. 500 pieces will be produced. Compared with the launch of Pebble, Seiko was 7 years earlier! Of course, the Spectrum wasn't a smartwatch, but remember, that was before the iPhone.

Seiko Spectrum (Image: Seiko)

This time I will talk about these old E-Ink products, all of which have become historical marks. Going back to the present more than ten years later, we have witnessed the development of E-Ink and its diversified applications, showing that it is not just black and white. People are no longer unfamiliar with E-Ink, but it can be seen everywhere in our life. This is a welcome change. Let us continue to wait and see and look forward to it.

Back to blog

Leave a comment