Rethinking the Smartphone – News from MWC 2013

What is arguably the biggest innovation in Smartphones since the introduction of the iPhone will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week. The YotaPhone, by Yota Devices, was a Best of CES 2013 award winner. The YotaPhone abandons the classic single LCD Smartphone design. At MWC, Yota will be introducing a revolutionary new smartphone with an E Ink ePaper display on the back of the phone. The extremely low power E Ink display enables the YotaPhone to deliver new functionality and extended battery life at the same time.

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Paper-Like Reading

If you’ve read about E Ink, you’ve probably heard about the attributes which make our technology unique – paper-like screen, low power, thin form factor… but what does this really mean?

First – let’s get some preliminaries out of the way, for those of you unfamiliar with our technology and how it works.

Our technology is not LCD – and it’s not trying to be.  While there are several different types of LCDs, the basic premise behind them is the same.  To use a very simplified explanation – in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), crystals are suspended between layers of glass – a top plane glass, a TFT glass layer and a polarizer layer.  When a charge is applied by the electronics, the crystals twist.  However, this alone doesn’t allow a viewer to see an image; for that, light is needed.  Most LCDs use a backlight; this light sits behind the TFT and, depending on the crystal’s alignment against the polarizer, will either allow the light to flow through the display, or block the light, thereby making an image visible to you.

In contrast, E Ink displays are made up of literal electronic ink – ink capsules containing black and white pigments that are charged positive and negative, which are then laminated in a single layer onto a film.  That film is then laminated onto a TFT.  When the electronics calls for an image to be displayed, the ink particles move up or down within their capsules, displaying the image for you to see.


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