Why it matters: Most consumers use e-ink displays for eReaders or specialty monitors due to their superior reading experience compared to LCD or other panel technologies. Philips is helping prove that e-ink also presents numerous advantages when used for signs and other public displays.

Philips and PPDS have unveiled a larger upgraded variant of the Tableaux ePaper display, a high-resolution e-ink screen designed for digital signs. The new model expands the size from 25 to 32 inches and migrates the device to a new hardware platform.

E-ink panels are less popular than LCD or OLED due to their inferior colors and refresh rates, but they require very little energy and are better at displaying text, making them useful for specific tasks. They're best known as the displays for eReaders like Amazon's Kindle, and companies like Philips have released e-ink computer monitors created primarily for viewing text documents. However, sectors like education, transport, retail, hospitality, and others can use e-ink in various ways.

The technology can provide a middle ground between paper signage and traditional monitors. A business or public service can update e-ink screens to display low-framerate content like advertisements, directions, the weather, or other information without needing to replace and repaint paper, thus saving trees. Conversely, they can run for extended periods while lowering energy consumption and emissions compared to TVs, helping organizations reach sustainability goals.

Philips' Tableaux series panels use no power while displaying static content, allowing them to run around the clock while completely unplugged. Updating the screens requires a brief connection to an AC or ethernet outlet, and the latter can also transmit the update, providing the information and energy through one cable. Moreover, Tableaux panels support Wi-Fi, USB, and microSD cards.

Both models include 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The new variant, the Tableaux 5150I, employs a 2560 x 1440 resolution and introduces the E Ink company's new Spectra 6 platform. Spectra 6 brings an improved color spectrum, a new imaging algorithm, and a partial flashing effect to make content more eye-catching.

The new platform and the Tableaux 5150I will debut next year. Philips plans to hold a launch event for its upgraded panel at the 2024 Integrated Systems Europe exhibition in Barcelona, Spain, held from January 30 to February 2.