KEY POINTS

  • TCL's proproetary color e-ink technology will be used in its latest NXTPAPER tablet
  • The release date of the new tablet was announced at CES 2021 to be in April
  • The new e-ink display could mean huge changes in the education and print industry due to its multimedia capibilities

Among the multiple products TCL unveiled during CES 2021, perhaps the one that caused the biggest splash is the NXTPAPER Tablet - which could be the next revolution the tablet industry has been waiting for, and the color Kindle that the world needs.

TCL NXTPAPER will have a full day battery TCL NXTPAPER will have a full day battery Photo: TCL

Color e-ink screen for the masses

Perhaps the biggest news is not that TCL’s proprietary new display technology exists, as it was already announced back in September at the 2020 IFA in Berlin. The biggest news is that they have put a date for its availability to consumers. According to TCL’s press release, the TCL NXTPAPER will be available in Europe, Middle East/Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific starting from April 2021.

Color Kindle that's currently non-existent

E-ink has been around for a number of years, well represented by Amazon’s Kindle, which provides a paper-like reading experience as well as unmatched battery life due to the display’s ultra-low power consumption. However, its application has been limited due to its monochromatic display, as well as screen refresh rates that are frankly speaking only good for books.

The Propriety TCL Display Transflective Technology The Propriety TCL Display Transflective Technology Photo: TCL

TCL NXTPAPER display technology

The TCL NXTPAPER - as the name suggests is the ‘next’ phase of electronic paper technology, and promises to address the classic e-ink limitations. Retaining the paper-like appearance of classic e-ink displays, the display according to TCL’s press release will ‘provide for smoother video playback’, which implies a screen refresh rate fast enough for video contents. This would mean something that would essentially look like a moving poster and should look no less fantastical as animated newspapers in Harry Potter stories.

The 8-inch FHD NXTPAPER screen also retains some of traditional e-ink’s lower power consumption characteristics. According to TCL, they are 65% more efficient than regular LCD panels, allowing its 5,500mAh battery to last well over a day’s use. The power-saving is to be expected as the transflective screen does not provide backlighting itself, but rather depends on external light hitting the display and bouncing back to the user’s eyes - closer to a typical page on a book, that will cause much less eye fatigue than a typical LCD or LED display.

TCL NXTPAPER also promises to include pen input TCL NXTPAPER also promises to include pen input Photo: TCL

Game-changer for the education sector

Before his untimely passing, Steve Jobs was eyeing the education sector, and looking to change the textbook industry as he did with the music industry, which unfortunately did not come to fruition. TCL’s advancement in e-ink technology could very well bring about a wave of change in how students interact with their class text, taking the baton from Apple’s hands. 

By providing a ‘real paper like’ experience that is able to handle rich content like videos and animations, as well as pen input - the NXTPAPER tablet has the potential to be the true multimedia textbook that the world is waiting for.

TCL NXTPAPER has Serious Educational Implications TCL NXTPAPER has Serious Educational Implications Photo: TCL

Final Verdict

With only three months till its release, we’ll be waiting with bated breath to get hands-on with the TCL NXTPAPER tablet that we expect to be a game-changer in the tablet market. For all the possibilities that the color e-ink display technology could open up in the education and printed media industry, we’re awarding the TCL NXTPAPER as one of the Best products of CES 2021 and will be watching this space with a keen eye.