Digital paper coming to a newsstand near you…

July 25, 2008

The New York Times reports that Esquire magazine will use E Ink display on its front cover for its 75 year anniversary edition in September. The cover will flash “the 21st century starts now”.  Only 100,000  of the 720,000 edition will have a display. I guess it will be a collectors item before it hits the shelfs…

E Ink will most likely use a segmented display. The text will be hard-wired on a PCB that is than covered with a layer of E Ink material. This means that the text can not be changed or updated. It is merely flashing on and off.  This solution has been available for years and has been introduced in products ranging from watches to bill boards. However, integration with a magazine introduces different problems, notably the battery. It is reported that the publisher of Esquire (Hearst, which is also shareholder of E Ink Corp) had to invest a significant amount to develop a special battery. Also, the display will be assembled with the paper magazine by hand and transported in refrigurated trucks to save the battery from dying out too quickly.  After 90 days, the display will stop flashing, but I guess by that time you will have finished the magazine anyway…

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