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The A51 is an A5 sized reading device, based on an A5 sized TFT display E Ink custom made for a Japanese customer in 2004. The name A51 comes from the fact that this is the #1 demo made from the A5 panel, A5-1 -> A51. Also it is strange and thin and large and mysterious, like a UFO you might see over Area 51.

E Ink's first active matrix product was a 6 inch diagonal 800x600 display, and is available in the market. This is the display used in the Sony Librie (currently available only in Japan). This screen is nice for reading books and other content that can be paginated relatively easily or can be fomatted for a smaller display (like novels, manga, etc.). However, sometimes it might be desirable to have a larger display area for content which is not easily reduced to SVGA resolution or which would be hard to break across multiple pages. This might be useful for things like:

  • Textbooks
  • Reference books
  • Office documents
  • Technical diagrams
  • Sheet music
  • Magazines
  • Maps

For this type of application, trading off extra cost and reduced portability for more area and pixels on the display might make sense. The active area on this display conforms to the A5 ISO paper size (almost), with approximately a 10 inch diagonal and 1280x900 pixels, which yields a spatial resolution of about 155ppi.

I presented a paper on this display system at the SID 2005 Conference in Boston. You can download the pdf in the paper section.

Design partially original and partially ripped off from other websites
by Holly Gates