Innovations like eBooks and ePaper, which have been frozen on the horizon for a decade, face important tests this spring. Sony Corp. plans to introduce its Reader, while Netherlands-based iRex is set to test its iLiad device via an electronic version of the Dutch newspaper De Tijd.
The technology for both products was developed by E Ink, which has been working on electronic reading displays for almost a decade. "It's not until right about now that E Ink technology has been really ready for prime time," says Ken Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media (an investor in E Ink) and chairman of E Ink's board. "They can produce it in large scale. It looks great. It's cost-effective. It's right around now that I think it's finally real, even though it's taken awhile."