E Ink Positive About Pricing Labels

We met with E Ink in the Reseller area, where they had a table. The company was in a positive mood as Sony had announced that one of its displays was being used in one of the Sony wearables that was announced during the company’s press event, where the battery life of three days was being highlighted. The SmartBand Talk has a 1.4″ diagonal and we asked for resolution specifications, but E Ink was unable to confirm at press time.

We looked at the 32″ display that E Ink has developed with GDS in Italy during SID Display Week and the firm told us that there is a lot of interest in the display, even “in a bus”, although design wins are not yet public. eReaders remain a good market, with 10 million units being sold this year, using E Ink displays. Sony has a large 13.3″ (A4-sized) eReader that is apparently doing quite well. It has 1600 x 1200 resolution (about 150 ppi).

The Yoda phone includes an external E Ink display along with an LCD as the main screen.

E Ink is seeing a lot of interest in price tag applications. We mentioned that we had heard that cost was high for E Ink compared to reflective LCDs, mainly because of the active matrix needed by E Ink. However, the company’s Giovanni Mancini told us that it had found that customers for reflective displays did not perform well, so are happy to consider new solutions. Further, having made the initial investments in systems, just upgrading the displays is not quite so expensive. A number of “major” US retailers are said to be ready to go with electronic pricing labels as they try to implement multi-channel strategies that keep pricing online and in-store consistent. They have, apparently, found that a small cost increase over online is OK with consumers and that is enough to justify the cost of a system. From 12 million devices last year, the company hopes to sell 20 – 22m in 2014.

A new product is a “Motion eBar” that has been developed as a bar for use in supermarkets, to divide the purchases of one buyer from another* The eBars are changeable every week to change the advertising on the bar.

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* It’s one of the mysteries of the English language as to why there is no word for one of these things. (BR)