E Ink-owning heavyweight PVI have apparently been showing off their latest color ereader display prototypes to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in both 6-inch and 9.7-inch sizes, ahead of mass production in Q4 2010. The news follows earlier comments from PVI's VP of marketing that color E Ink devices would begin shipping in Q1 2011.
While the 6-inch E Ink panel was apparently being fed a video to display, PVI concede that the technology is not currently at a level to show smooth footage. Instead, the slow-refreshing pixels make the clip look more like a flip-book. Nonetheless, the company says they've been providing samples of the displays - which add an extra layer of color-filtering glass on top of a standard E Ink panel - to their hardware partners for development purposes, and expect production of such devices to begin this year.
However, neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble would comment on whether they plan to use the PVI displays in upcoming Kindle or nook product line refreshes. PVI face strong competition from rival formats such as mirasol, several of which are capable of smooth video playback.