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E Ink and TI Collaborate on E-book Technologies

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 10:10am

TI e-ink e-readerTAIPEI, Taiwan -- E Ink Corporation, a subsidiary of Prime View International (PVI), and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) announced a collaboration that will combine E Ink's Vizplex Electronic Paper Displays (EPDs) with TI technologies, including its power management ICs and OMAP 3 processors. As the eBook market evolves, overall system solution power, size, and performance are critical.

Through the agreement between these companies, eBook manufacturers have access to the world's first Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC) for E Ink EPDs. Additionally, TI employs an innovative software-based EPD display controller for its OMAP 3 processor to drive E Ink's EPDs which thereby reduces the total silicon footprint and provides savings on overall hardware cost. The TI and E Ink collaboration comes at an ideal time as mobile device manufacturers are looking to develop new and exciting consumer products.

Power management

Market-leading E Ink Vizplex displays enable ultra-low power, thin, sunlight readable portable devices that are easy on the eyes, even in ambient light. The TPS65180 integrated power management IC gives product designers a power-efficient, high-performance, small 7 mm x 7 mm footprint that meets all power requirements of 5", 6", 9.7" or 11" E Ink Vizplex electronic paper displays. For more information, visit www.ti.com/tps65180-pr.

A simple solution to implement high-performance power supply is necessary to ease the design burden on product developers. Freed from the intricacies of power supply implementation, designers may now focus on creating novel and innovative new applications that will open markets not yet conceived. Existing applications like eReaders and emerging applications like eTextbooks will become sleek and more power efficient with the use of this power management technology.

OMAP 3 advancements ease eBook design

While the eBook market is rapidly emerging, areas for innovation and differentiation are constantly surfacing. Just as with other portable consumer devices, SoC vendors must introduce system-level solutions that deliver the right power and performance along with key size and cost reductions. TI has addressed these concerns by delivering a comprehensive hardware and software solution in its new eBook development platform which includes an OMAP3621 processor and WiLink 6.0 single-chip WLAN and Bluetooth(R) solution, combined with TI audio, power management and other analog technologies, including the TPS65180. To further ease development, TI provides full hardware reference schematics, design layout files, as well as a complete software offering. Within its system design TI implemented a software-based EPD display controller that reduces required board space with E Ink EPDs by about 200mm2. This allows slimmer, sleeker device designs that still can tout the most "demanded for" consumer features. Through the reuse of the OMAP processor's system memory, the need for a discrete hardware display controller is eliminated. This also eliminates the need for dedicated flash and SDRAM memory components, as well as the panel temperature sensor (which is integrated into TI's TPS65180 device). For device manufacturers using E Ink displays, this is an important step to further increasing their offerings' flexibility and lowering eBook product cost.

"We are excited to collaborate with E Ink, the leader in the electronic paper market, and feel that the optimization we've incorporated in the OMAP processors is crucial to improving the overall user experience," said Elie Belmand, General Manager of TI's mobile consumer business. "Addressing functions via software-based designs not only reduces costs for our customers, but saves critical board space to keep these emerging consumer products sleek and appealing to consumers."

E Ink's Vizplex EPDs have become the display of choice for applications like eReaders, eNewspaper, eTextbooks, mobile phones and watches, just to name a few. With key attributes such as ultra-low power, sunlight readability, thin form factor, low weight and EMI, E Ink's Vizplex® displays offer benefits unmatched by any other display technology or manufacturer. E Ink's customers include Lexar, Motorola, Sony, Amazon, Citizen, Barnes & Noble, Hanwang and Plastic Logic among others.

"We saw the need for integrated semiconductor solutions in the ePublishing markets and collaborated with TI to achieve them," Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing at E Ink, said in a statement. "While TI's PMIC reduces component count and thereby allows competitive price points, the software EPD controller offers our customers greater flexibility in their design."

The TPS6518xEVM evaluation module (EVM) offered by TI is the fastest way to start working with the TI PMIC. The EVM will enable engineers to rapidly prototype and evaluate this solution for next-generation epaper display products. To further ease eBook designs, TI has created the OMAP eBook development platform, which is a complete hardware and software solution utilizing the OMAP processor, TPS65180 PMIC, TI's WiLink 6.0 solution, along with audio and other analog components.

For more information about Texas Instruments, go to: www.power.ti.com 

E Ink news can be found at: www.eink.com.  

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