e-book is becoming popular with more and more manufacturers moving into this new business. However, the retail price could be still too high to be affordable for average users. Good news now, Freescale has been collaborating with Epson so that the new E-Ink technology can be integrated directly into the SoC (Silicon-on-Chip) to bring down BOM (Bill of Material) cost and eventually lowering the selling price as a benefit to public.
Typically, manufacturers will have to add an external display controller IC such as the famous Epson S1D13522 which costs $20 in bulk quantity in order to utilize the EPD (Electrophorescent) monochrome for e-book or e-newspaper applications. This is crucial since the monochrome display module will able to conserve around 99 percent of power consumption as compared to conventional LCD display which is indeed necessary for prolong reading experience while on the move. For the start, the collaboration effort will involve Freescale’s i.MX SoC series integrated with Vizplex display controller technology into the silicon itself and the benefit is obvious – manufacturers will able to simplify the design with reduction of discrete components and more importantly, the total BOM cost can be lowered by 20 percent which is significant for a normal e-book reader retailing at $200 and above.
There are other ARM licensees that are looking for similar effort to integrate the IP (Intellectual Property) core into their SoC as the growth of e-book devices in consumer market is in exponential curve. Based on DisplaySearch market analysis report, the units will be reaching 75 million units by 2018 with an approximate market share value of $3.8billion. Nevertheless, no pricing and availability yet but we are anticipating the final products to be available as early as 2010.