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13.3" full color ePaper display (eink.com)
591 points by bufbupa on Jan 8, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 388 comments

Nice, but I fear that this will go the same way as Eink corp's monochrome displays. They have been a terrible steward of the technology, limiting themselves to a tiny fraction of the addressable market (ebook readers) while shutting out a vast potential low power display market by pricing their panels far too high. They have also either refused to license their technology to others or made the licensing fee uneconomical.

A competent company would have pursued the signage market aggressively many years ago and would have had a massive revenue stream from that by now.

E Ink displays have recently started showing up as price tags on grocery shelves, which is promising for the future of low cost, low power displays. I am not sure if these are supplied by Eink or if patents are expiring and competitors are moving into the market.

signs: https://eink.com/signage.html

price tags: https://eink.com/electronic-shelf-label.html

more: https://eink.com/application.html

Are you sure you know EInk/PVI's business better than they do?

How many of those have you seen in the real world?

Maybe they're more popular elsewhere, but outside of warehouse store price labels I haven't seen the technology.

Certainly not in large format.

A ton? Carrefour (I believe they're the second largest retailer, after Walmart) has had electronic shelf labels for well over a decade.

I haven't seen them in the US, but they're not exactly uncommon in Europe and Asia.

Here in the US, Kohl's (https://www.kohls.com/) uses the e-ink price tags in their retail stores. They are a terrible application of the technology. They're not bright enough to be legible from a distance, and even up-close their legibility is not great. They just look washed-out and dingy.

One of the main purposes of a price tag is to draw and hold the shopper's eye, and in that respect they fail miserably.

> One of the main purposes of a price tag is to draw and hold the shopper's eye, and in that respect they fail miserably.

There I was thinking the main purpose of a price tag is to tell you the price.

Product packaging is meant to grab your eye. Price tags are mostly functional (although some shops also use them to advertise offers).

The buyer for price labels is the retailer. The retailer's purpose for a price tag is to grab your eye and get you to buy more. If the price tag dissuades you from buying the product, that is a net negative from the retailer's perspective, and they are the ones that make the purchasing decisions on price tags.

Don't assume alignment of incentives. From the customer's perspective, the purpose of a price tag is to tell you the price. The customer isn't making the purchasing decisions for the price tags.

I guess this depends a lot on country and culture. In Spain, in the supermarkets I usually go to, price tags are standard, black-and-white and uniform, just telling you the price and other standardized information (like price per kg). To grab your eye towards certain products, supermarkets add additional signs near the price tags (but not instead of them).

This is a typical example: https://cflvdg.avoz.es/sc/X71nZnU3spbY_97PpRRHtVnNB20=/x/201... - the price tags are standard, but the yellow sign with the eye ("you have a keen eye!") draws your attention to a particular tag. If they want to draw your attention even more they will use a larger sign, no problem.

By the way, eInk price tags in supermarkets here are common. Far from ubiquitous, but common.

I don't know about the USA but where I live (Italy) a price tag is subject to some requirements by law. For example it shows the cost by kg or by liter to be able to compare products (of course not on, let's say, shavers.) Packaging can be as catchy as the manufacturer wishes but price tags are very standard and uniform within a store. The store can add label with discounts etc but not on the price tag.

Price per/{kg,l,unit} is mandated by EU regulations. Very useful to see if a 2nd unit -75% off offer is really a good price or not.

> The retailer's purpose for a price tag is to grab your eye and get you to buy more.

I'm not sure that's really true.

What a supermarket like Tesco wants to do is sell stuff at a high price to people who don't care about the price (there are a lot of such people) while having stuff available at a low price to people who will only buy it if the price is competitive (there are also a lot of those people). One way to do that is to put the expensive stuff at eye level and the cheaper stuff on the bottom shelf. Another way to do it is to have periodic offers: some people will buy certain products only when they're on offer. Yet another way to do it is to make the prices hard to read or hard to compare. And the shops do that, in my experience. E Ink could be another tool for that. "Almost illegible from a distance of more than 40 cm" could be a selling point.

Depending on the jurisdiction, price tags also have to be correct as well.

In certain areas, the consumer laws are such that the lowest of the register price and the displayed price must be used, and in other even friendlier jurisdictions, a discount of $10 has to be applied to the shelf price if the shelf price is lower than the register price (including giving away the item for free if the item is worth less than $10).

In those jurisdictions, ensuring that the price is correctly synchronized between displays and the registers is significantly more important than in jurisdictions with weaker consumer laws.

Where I'm from, many items have to have an easily comparable and visible price per kg (or e.g. l). Works so well (for the consumer) when you are looking at a selection of a specific product category.

Handling all this data and keeping it up to date is much easier with digitised and synchronised displays.

I'm not convinced that the synchronisation is assured. While paper labels maybe subject to lack of staff or process discipline, electronic labels are going to suffer from power/battery issues, connection issues to the database, physical product ending up on the wrong shelf, etc. It'd be interesting to see independent reports on error rates between the two methods. ( Our biggest issue is double-scanning of product at the cash register.)

I don't want to be advertised to when I'm already in your damn store, I just want price information. If you try to manipulate me I am definitely less likely to buy your product. Retailers that don't care about their customers deserve to lose money.

Might be difficult to find a retailer NOT trying to manipulate you.

And yet there are differences of degree and I definitely prefer to spend my $ at retailers that do less of it.

Why would the price tag holding a shopper's attention have something to do with the likelihood of that shopper buying something?

Today I went to Tesco - a large supermarket in the UK - to buy 3 items required for dinner. I also planned to buy some chocolate of some sort.

I bought the requirements, and passed by a the crisps (potato chips) aisle on my way to the chocolate. A glance half an aisle away told me that one of the three or four kinds of crisps my partner takes to work was on offer, I had half an aisles walking where I thought about it and ended up buying it.

In the chocolate aisle I ended up buying a large bag of white chocolate that was particularly well priced (I could read every label from one place). As chocolate is a guilty luxury I've been known to leave without it if my deliberations last too long; being able to parse the information quickly led to a purchase.


So that is why. Most shoppers are both immediately price driven and don't want to be there. This can be used to increase spends.

Interestingly I know a little about why Tesco doesn’t use eInk price tags, having talked at length with one of the people that evaluated eInk tags for Tesco.

Top reason was simply price and maintenance. Deploy this kind of tech to 3400 stores is seriously non-trivial (something I know, from having attempted to build and sell tech to Tesco), and even very low unit costs compound fast.

Tesco top concerns with this type of tech are:

1. Price. Tesco is very capex sensitive. They generally only want to spend money on assets that have multiple uses.

2. Will it work 100% of time, or very close to it. Incorrect price tags are a serious issue for Tesco.

3. Who fixes it when it goes wrong and how?

Again these don’t seem like hard issues, but 3400 physical store makes it hard. Especially when you can’t rely on store staff to deal with uncommon problems, they aren’t given the time or training, due to retails razor thin margins.

One of the interesting non-obvious problem Tesco had with eInk price tags was simply making sure the right product tag appeared on the right shelf in the right place. This is despite has a very competent stock management system that tracks exactly what item lives on what shelf.

With paper you just swap the tags and move on. With eInk displays you can’t do that because then physical location of a tag will no longer match it’s stored virtual location.

I don't understand why Tesco couldn't just start some pilot in a handful of stores, iron out the kinks, learn about reliability problems etc. and only after that decide whether or not to roll out the tech in all stores. That's what basically every supermarket chain here does (it has to be said they are often franchises here). For example, self-scanning in the supermarket chain I've been shopping at for years started used to be in only a handful of stores, but slowly more and more stores are getting the tech.

Same for the e-ink price tags, I've spotted them in two different supermarkets of the same chain so far but I'm 100% sure that in ~2 years literally all of them will have them.

Traditionally brick and mortar retailers, for whatever reason, don't seem to use pilots and rollouts.

At least not to the extent expected.

The closest explanation I can think of is that so much of store operations' focus is on standardization (which itself is a tough problem), that deliberately disturbing standardization seems anathema.

That said, it's definitely changing in some chains. But you'll still get tons of blank looks or red tape in most, if you want to run an experiment like that.

Oh yes they do.

I am a field tech for retail stores and see new technology being piloted all the time.

Rollouts are how they survive. Every tech refresh cycle is an enormous project handled by roaming teams who travel. I have done a 9-month rollout project for a huge chain. It was a great year. :)

Indeed. I was involved in trying to get some shoplifting prevention tech to POC at a single Sainsbury's location and we ran into similar issues. Unfortunately it the company wound down before we found out whether we could overcome them.

Context: Kohl's is a volume reseller, clearinghouse; known for selling products on significant discount that did not sell on the first shelf the products were on.

They advertise their % off original retail to increase volumes of sales.

Price is their theoretical business, if the products were enticing enough themselves they'd not have made it to Kohls.

Kohl's is a regular department store

Not sure about other people but for me if the price tag is not easily legible I most of the times don't bother with said item, unless it is an item that I purchase regularly and for which I know the price and especially the price per kg (I'm talking mostly about food products, here).

If a deal falls in the forest and no one see it, does the retailer make a sale?

The advantage for the retailer is that pricing is now "soft" and can be changed as often as desired for any of a number of reasons, including sales, promotions, A/B pricing tests, etc.

Funny: I have vision issues being able to focus on product packaging so when I am searching for a particular, say, cheese in the cheese section I find it much easier to scan/read the shelf labels than the products themselves. I find the uniformity much easier to cope with.

I always thought Kohl's used LCD price tags.

The Kohl's near me has used eink for years. They are easy enough to read when next to the item. For drawing your attention, they use hard copy signs.

I think you’re right, they flicker when you look at them sidelong.

I've seen those, they look more like old segmented LED displays. E-ink technology can be a lot clearer than that. Sounds to me like they wanted digital signs, but didn't want to pay for it.

Can't blame them to be honest, they probably get damaged a lot and they're competing price-wise with small pieces of printed paper.

I disagree. At my local Kohls, I can see the displays just fine from a reasonable distance. Up close their legibility is fine.

Are you sure you don't mean seven-segment displays or similar? I've seen many stores in Sweden use electronic displays, but they are usually LCD seven-segment or similar, not e-ink.

Are you sure? Looking at the price tags page I could swear I've seen those in Sweden before, and this image looks like it may be from a Swedish (or at least Scandinavian) store: https://tw.eink.com/uploads/images/application/showcase/ESL4...

I may very well be wrong, but I live a block away from a Coop, Systembolaget and a few other stores, I can do a quick sample test tomorrow. (I know they have tags similar looking to these but I couldn't swear they're e-ink. I always thought those tags were pretty cool but it drives me nuts when they aren't set and so you have to go around hunting for a price anyway. (Looking at you, Bauhaus!)

Pricer https://www.pricer.com/ is the company that most retailers utilizing e-ink price tags are utilizing in Sweden (They were founded there) along with other retailers (Best Buy). Those tags utilize near Infrared communication to update.

Yeah, that's e-ink. I was basing off of my experiences in my town, perhaps we're just behind the curve :)

I've seen small lcd pricetags at superstore in Canada. But I've never seen e-ink price tags, or e-ink anything other than when I see people with e-readers.

Real Canadian Superstore has them, at least in BC.

One of the major supermarket chains in New Zealand has rolled them out to many of their stores over the past decade or so. They look pretty good.

I've done some shelf-edge signage projects recently and the market leaders are all LED or LCD.

Here in DK, every price tag in every super- or hypermarket use them. A big hypermarket will have in excess of thousand in use, plus replacing lost/damaged ones. Even a small supermarket has hundreds.

Electronic price tags are a huge business.

Not accurate, about 50% of details markets run these. As Aldi, Netto, Lidl doesn't use eink.

Ah, those use LCD price tags instead, right? Doesn't change that it's a massive market, though.

In Switzerland we see these all over the place. For example Coop supermarkets or Media Markt use them as price Tags. They also use the 3 color ones for marking sale items.

Oh wow... Been walking past these things for a few years now. Never realized it's E-Ink!

In Germany every eighth store uses them and that data set is from 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdbZE0WaS_k

we have eink bus timetables in sydney and the clearway/no parking signs that change for special events... pretty nifty.

that said, you have a point, if tec was from china and/or was more open it would be everywhere.

I think I've seen this maybe a decade ago? I'm not sure. I'm talking about Spain though.

Neither of these, but California gives option to use them as registration plates. Don't think I will ever use them, because they also had to add GPS and ability to phone home in addition to having to pay monthly for using it.

I’ve seen them a lot in non-US countries.

There is the reality that if this sign costs tens of dollars, you can go through the old printing process hundreds of firms before it becomes viable to use these kinds of screens though

How much labor do you need for someone to manually replace a printed sign, though?

How much additional labor is it to stick a new label the few times the price changes or the few times the location of items are changed, relative to programming those new prices and those new locations in a computer?

And would that add up to needing to hire even a single new employee, considering that most retail stocking is done by regular employees during their down times (it’s not like stores are gonna reprice and rearrange products on the fly during busy times).

And it’s not just the cost of a single eink sticker because they will get damaged or break down more frequently.

Are these tags connected to a network? In that case I can definitely see the appeal for chain stores where you need consistent prices across stores in multiple cities. Set the price centrally, and have it come through everywhere without the need for any employees to go around setting new tags. Given all stores are chains these days (sadly) I can definitely imagine those savings add up to offset the cost of the tags. Especially over time and considering how massive some stores are.

Yeah, they're normally hooked up to a low bandwidth network like an IR mesh or something.

Another benefit of that is that it leaves the only regular stocking left which is the easiest part to automate. At that point you can cut out the grocery department entirely and leave the 10% weird cases to the front end staff.

> it’s not like stores are gonna reprice and rearrange products on the fly during busy times

Ah, but with networked electronic tags, they totally could try and maximize revenue even more by dynamically repricing products throughout the day.

I wonder how that would work when the price changes. If I put something in my cart and then it rings up higher because the price went up while I was shopping I’m not going to be happy (and I assume that violates some kind of law or regulation).

I feel like you’d need to have people scan things as they picked them up to lock in the price. Then you’d need to automatically drop the price if the price goes down before the customer checks out (but don’t raise it if it goes up).

I imagine this is handled like price changes at stores that are open 24h - push out the price label changes, then a few hours later update the registers. It's unlikely that a customer will be in your store that long.

Ah, interesting point, I hadn't considered that. It seems like that would take away a lot of the power of electronic price tags though. You raise the price on the price tag and people take the product at the new price, indicating they're willing to pay that new price, but you still charge them the old price.

The real holy grail in price segmentation would be something like Google glasses that show individualized prices for each product. Then the store could do all kinds of targeted price promotion based on my buying history. Or even do promotional pricing based on my shopping trip for that day. Maybe it notices I'm about to checkout and I have hamburgers in my cart, it could offer me a promotional price on buns. Or lower the price of sale items as I walk past them without picking them up to try to find the highest pricepoint I'm willing to pay.

An edge case, but some 30 years ago or so I was told that in some supermarkets in Brazil, there could be a central display changing prices daily (due to the hyperinflation) and besides supermarkets people went shopping as early as possible on shop openings to get "yesterday's prices":


>In practice, this meant stores had to change their prices every day. The guy in the grocery store would walk the aisles putting new price stickers on the food. Shoppers would run ahead of him, so they could buy their food at the previous day’s price.

Yes, not having to reprint price tags is an example of reducing menu cost. I assume that's what you're trying to say with this context-free Wikipedia link.

About the same you need to stock the shelves

Seeing them a lot in Best Buy.

Kroger has been experimenting with digital pricing in their shelf labels for over a year. Instead of eInk however, they were using LCDs, I think.

In addition to just price tags, they can then also show animation and ads at strategic locations.

It isn’t common yet, and I’ve only seen it at one of their test stores, but it’s pretty cool tech. But it is definitely not as set and forget as eInk.

The e-ink price tags are used in most supermarkets in Denmark, and they started entering the shelves 10 years ago.

But in large format I don't think I've ever seen one.

Irma in Denmark uses them, and they’re three-colour too (light-grey, black and red) which helps with offers, etc.

Started appearing in most supermarket chains in the Czech Republic. B/W and also dual colored.

Poland has those e-ink price tags everywhere, honestly majority of supermarkets now have them.

My local Whole Foods (in the SF Bay Area) uses E ink shelf labels in the produce section.

I've been to 7 best buy's in the last month and 6 had all price tags as eink

Kohl's uses the eink price tags, or at least used to a few years ago.

Everywhere that values human productivity. Many Countries in Europe paying fair wages to those working in Supermarket has been using them for years if not decades.

> Are you sure you know EInk/PVI's business better than they do?

Never said that I do, and, yes they are NOW finally starting to pursue the signage / label markets. My point was that they could and should have done so 10 or more years ago.

They were. My first employer partnered with eInk back in like 2012 to bring a line of ESLs to market. The reason you're not seeing more of it is because in the US the companies prefer to purchase a "turnkey solution" whereas in Europe companies are more apt to develop custom software to integrate the ESL with their systems. And the major ESL supplier in the US, Pricer, uses on-premises servers and IR to update labels which is an expensive proposition. So you're limited in how you can pilot the technology.

I actually think there's a lot of room at the low end of the market to sell an on-premises ARM- or NUC-based server which interfaces with the tags over a radio link and provides aggregate data back to a cloud-based system for control and pricing updates. That would get you the millions of convenience stores who have to pay 3rd-party contractors to do their shelf labels. This would be especially brilliant if you combined a software fee with equipment leases so that your solution is an operating expense instead of an upfront capital cost.

Making them full color was a tremendous technical challenge if you look at how they work, for which I have to give them enormous kudos. And they're also pretty challenging to manufacturer... I suspect the pricing reflects the complexity to be honest.

I dunno, makes sense to me that you'd first address something where color and large sizes isn't very important, start making some revenue, do R&D on manufacturing larger formats and color and frame rate, and gradually introduce new products as they can be developed.

It's not like they've been keeping other color e-ink devices off the market with patents -- they didn't exist until today AFAIK. Other things billed as "color e-ink" substitutes that I've seen consume power in standby (and I keep checking from time to time with fingers crossed). I remember hearing stories about how much trouble they had getting from prototype (circa 1996) which I saw in lab to a model ready for production in 2007. 10+ years of process development to get to where it was in the first kindle.

And to be honest I'm not sure another company could just pick up the technology and start producing them in bigger quantities, these things are barely related to other displays at all and I imagine the production lines are super different. Plus patents from 1997 are expired now anyway, so if someone else could do it they are allowed to.

Knowing a fair bit about how their displays work, it's one of the few cases in electronic hardware I can think of that really seems to deserve a patent given how much creativity and time it took to start manufacturing, and how much money they had to spend to get it to the stage where it worked reliably at all. We could very easily be in a world where these displays didn't exist at all, plus or minus a few people making different choices about how to spend their money and time.

Haven't they been on sale in Asia for a few years now as billboards ?

While LCDs still consume power just to display a picture, it can go very low : see how watches can run for a decade on a single tiny battery ! (I'm not even sure that e-ink would necessarily be an improvement there, considering that you'll want a watch to refresh a part of the screen at least once a minute...)

The backlight is what probably consumes most of the power, AFAIK color displays wouldn't properly work otherwise

Transflective LCDs only require a backlight in lo light conditions. They have color versions as well (Game Boy Color, Pebble Time...)

> they are NOW finally starting to pursue the signage / label markets

Your statement implies this is a recent development but many large retailers, like Best Buy and Kohls, have had these for well over 5 years, maybe even 10 I just don't remember precisely.

More than 10, as I recall seeing e-ink labels in Circuit City in 1999.

The price tags would be neat if they allowed you to swipe for additional information.

I was hoping Beacon to do that, but instead in China they now uses QR Code For it. Which is slightly worst in UX but I guess is much more cost effective.

  > They have been a terrible steward of the technology, limiting
  > themselves to a tiny fraction of the addressable market (ebook
  > readers) while shutting out a vast potential low power display
  > market by pricing their panels far too high.
I've often wondered if the E-ink management came from the pharmaceutical industry. They seem insistent on extracting the maximum dollar amount _per unit_ rather than maximizing revenue or making the technology available to those who would benefit from it.

I would pay any reasonable - and even a slightly unreasonable - price for a full E-ink phone, because I am a business user and do not care about consuming media. Likewise for a laptop or desktop screen. Yet they are all but unavailable!

eInk smartphones, at least, are around: Hisense, Kingrow. Hisense just announced one with a color screen yesterday.

They are still very niche devices, though. Onyx made a similar thing back in 2013, but they never followed up because it didn't sell well.

FWIW, I do have a Kingrow K1, and I like it for what it is, which is a 5" Kindle that can also run the occasional Android app (like, say, OsmAnd or Kiwix). It's an excellent off-the-grid device due to battery life, which is precisely what I got it for. But for business use, I don't see much point - a dedicated business device to me would be something like Cosmo Communicator or Unihertz Titan.

You might like the Barnes and Noble Nook 3. It's a terribly underpowered eink book reader, but Android apps and a launcher can be easily installed. I use it for Ankidroid. It runs Android 4.4 (API 19 I believe) but many apps still support that version.

It doesn't have an SD card slot, on top of having little internal storage. This is a common problem with eInk readers, even though many do run Android - they either don't have an SD slot at all, or if they do, it's SDHC (and thus 32 Gb).

With K1, I have a 400 Gb card in there that's loaded with stuff - not only my entire Kindle library, but also Kiwix loaded with offline Wikipedia and a bunch of other wikis, OsmAnd topo maps etc. Between that, and several days of battery life with occasional use, it's perfect for multi-day hikes out in the boonies.

I'm really interested in the K1, but every review I've read says it's slow as molasses. Are they exaggerating or does it really feel bad to use?

In what sense? I haven't tried anything CPU-intensive on it, since there isn't much point with that kind of screen.

If you mean the screen refresh rate, it's typical eInk, comparable to Kindle. For tasks that require fast refresh, it's certainly not a pleasant device to use - e.g. scrolling around in maps is a bit tricky - but it's manageable.

Have you seen the Dasung Paperlike?


That just proves my point. $1200 for a 13" screen is five times the cost and one forth the surface area of my current screen. It should be the same surface area and double the cost.

It's an extremely young technology that only a tiny niche of people are even interested in. Your expectations are unreasonable.

About 7 years ago I moved to one of the most affluent parts of the UK (outside of London) and had my mind blown when every item on the shelf in the tastefully decorated Morissons supermarket had e-ink displays for every item.

As an engineer my immediate thought was whether they update these on-the-fly with different prices depending on who walks in the door (they don't).

At least in Portugal, prices on a supermarket can only be lowered during the day, never increased. The logic is: During a dynamic price increase, a customer may pick an item from the display at the low price, only then to be charged the higher price at the register; the store would be found lying on the displayed price, which is illegal.

This severely limits dynamic pricing.

That's interesting. I worked in a supermarket as a student (in the UK) and was told when I asked (because I like to ask these sorts of questions) that here in the UK, the retailer is not obligated to honour the implied contract.

Essentially, if the price is wrong on the shelf, they can simply choose not to sell you the item if you refuse the correct price. In reality, larger stores won't want to upset a customer and generally will honour a lower price. It's more likely to happen when buying a loaf of bread than when buying a TV, or a car for example.

This is because people frequently try to scam stores by swapping labels and such.

Where is this?

Wilmslow/Alderley Edge

I checked it a while back, and the key patents aren't due to expire for several more years. I recall 2024, but with einks patent moat, it will probably take until the 2030s to see real alternatives in the space.

The NDA required to buy a sample also doesn’t help.

From what I understand, a lot has to do with IP ownership, this was developed at MIT and any licensing deal is not as profitable as being able to sell a product. Thus, to make a VC/equity funded commercial venture of it they have to develop a product.

Reminder that patents filed in 1997 expired years ago. I suspect that the lack of competitors has more to do with the incredible complexity of manufacturing them reliably than due to IP issues. Unlike 3D printers which went wild after Stratasys patents finally expired.

There's probably a bunch of patents related to the manufacturing process or mechanisms.

What they should have done is license the tech while developing their product. This little move probably left them billions on the table just by preferring to sit on the tech.

You can get monochrome and 2 color displays very cheap! I bought one a while ago to play around with building a smartwatch but school got in the way, then I graduate and have been moving and my whole electronics lab is all packed up.

E-Ink as price displays has been around for at least 10 years.

Grocery stores here have had those e-ink price tags for a few years already, so I guess at least those are not expensive in bulk. Not sure if the same economy of scale applies to the larger screens or if there are still technological difficulties at large sizes.

I wonder if there are any noticeable economical effects of being able to update prices live on the fly with those price tags, or if it's purely a matter of convenience.

> They have also either refused to license their technology to others or made the licensing fee uneconomical.

Please share your evidence for this.

100% correct, eInk have been terrible stewards of this otherwise wonderful tech.

I was in a meeting with an eInk marketing person and saw a prototype of this display 2 years ago (the refresh time was hellish, 10-15 seconds IIRC, and their suggested applications suggest the refresh rate hasn't been brought down since then). He was relatively new to the company then, and mentioned that he'd reviewed their CRM contacts going way back, and found, among other things, an inquiry about a small eInk display from (my NDA probably prevents me being too specific) a little silicon valley tech start-up making an IoT wall-mounting thermostat, circa 2012. eInk failed completely to respond to that inquiry at all. What a massive lost opportunity.

I looked at their display range and had an idea for a demonstrator product - which is why we had the meeting, they wanted 3rd parties to help them develop novel applications for eInk displays - so I asked for data sheets on a few of them. I can't remember if we ultimately had to sign an NDA to get the data sheets, or if there was sufficient behind-the-scenes conversation between him and their Taiwanese owners to pull their fucking head in, but 2 weeks just to get data sheets wasn't a good start.

Along with the displays I looked at several of their dev-kits to drive them (before you design your own driver in your own product & get working hardware, so that s/w people can dev code for it before then). They had at least 3 completely different dev-kits for displays in the 1.5 to 4" range. Not only did they have quite different interfaces (signalling, pin-outs, connectors), but all the dev-kits were all based on different microcontroller brands, AND you had to have your own device-programmer for each of those microcontrollers to be able to update the dev-kit's firmware - as recommended by their own instructions before you start work. IOW, they ship dev-kits with outdated firmware, so you have to update them yourself at your own cost.

So I had a follow-up conf-call with this guy & someone new in the tech area and basically gave him the "srslywtf?" conversation about this appalling experience. They were appreciative of the feedback, but I never heard from them again. That marketing guy was in a new job less than a year later.

I found eInk displays from several other sources and moved on, never to bother with eInk Inc again.

The price-tag application has been around a long time now, 5 maybe 10 years, but precious few other applications (San Diego Airport's car-park comes to mind, tho that's ePaper, not eInk (i.e. whole panels, not dot-matrix displays)), but eInk have been completely wrong-headed about how to get eInk to go beyond the near-captive-audience of eBook Readers (which is mostly the Kindle), and the writing was on the wall for that product line to expand way beyond just eInk-based readers a LONG time ago. Sad.

In the realm of e-ink, I've been loving my Onyx tablet lately. It runs full Android, has an ePaper display, and has a Wacom stylus for note taking.

Two things I think it's done really well- it has the ability to easily disable the touch screen so you can pass it around and work with it like it's a real piece of paper. Additionally, you can change the refresh rate to your preference, and set it per-app. Higher refresh rates lead to ghosting, but if I turn the refresh rate high enough, I can watch a YouTube video on ePaper (!!!) which is crazy to me.

> to easily disable the touch screen

The one feature I wish existed in every smartphone and tablet yet it exists in none. Perhaps I'm particularly clumsy but the amount of inadvertent interactions I trigger with my devices is infuriating.

iOS supports this with "Guided Access" mode. It has to be enabled in settings, then a triple click will turn it off/on. It can have its own passcode as well. I use it when handing my phone to my kids--start a video, enable guided access, and not worry about who they might inadvertently call or photo they might delete.

I wish it worked more consistently. Maybe I’m just not smart enough, but sometimes triple clicking the side button works, other times it doesn’t.

I wonder if you're not triple clicking quickly enough for the system's defaults? You can adjust this in Accessibility > Side Button

That's an incredible feature that I had no idea existed. Thanks! Now my kids will stop deleting my apps.

I'd love to be able to map this to ipad side switch (which no more exists) - my kids use it to fix the picture on screen so that they could put a paper over screen, and use the picture as a template for drawing.

I can't thank you enough for this comment, it's exactly what I was looking for for so long.

You just changed my life, thank you!

Wow, thanks!

Doesn't sound all that convenient. In truth I just want a hardware switch.

It’s pressing a button three times to enable, three times to disable (with a passcode).

I would say that’s better because it doesn’t take up more phone real-estate, and it can’t be disabled by a smart kiddo.

No, it's not like that at all. You have to not just enable it but also select inaccessible areas of the screen. Every time. And they get greyed out which makes it unusable for watching videos while disabling inadvertent interactions (accidental pause/resume/rewind etc).

You don’t have to disable any part of the screen. Just hit “start” and you are locked into the app. I just tested it and the only thing I could not do was change the volume.

You've missed my point completely. I want the _whole damn screen_ disabled so I don't inadvertently press pause/skip forward when watching videos for example. It's exactly the opposite of the behavior you get from "guided access" thing.

I apologize, I misread what you said. In options (bottom left of the screen) there is a switch to disable touch completely (it also seems to remember it’s setting for that particular app).

There's an option to disable all touches without greying anything out, but I agree that it's too cumbersome to use.

There is an android app called touch lock which I use for this on the odd occasions my 2yo daughter watches youtube/netflix

It's a bit hacky but kinda works (netflix doesn't like stuff floating over a playing video so you have to set touch lock to lock in 10 secs then press play, there's a sort of knack to it. Also it doesn't lock the power button so sometimes that accidentally gets pressed and I get asked why did it stop? :) )

If there are better options out there I'm all ears!

Game Tools on Samsung devices have this feature. For apps that aren't games you need to add them in Game Launcher so the Game Tools button appears in those apps.

I personally love my Dasung not-eReader. Yes, the software is not the best, especially at very low power it becomes unusable but having my eReader serve emergency monitor duty is awesome. It has a mini HDMI input. It's also an Android tablet but i consider that a gimmick.

With the One Mix Yoga 2S it forms my on call tech kit I lug everywhere. I wouldn't use this for full time work but I only need a tiny shoulder bag this way vs carrying the 14" ThinkPad everywhere just because once every half a year we have an emergency...

You can see my loadout at https://imgur.com/a/xmRmYSn

I have one of those, but the problem is that it seems to be very picky about the devices that it can support as a display. I can get output from my Thinkpad X1 just fine, but an assortment of different Raspberry Pi models produce a mess of pixels (whereas the same devices work fine with a regular external HDMI display).

The newer Onyx models seem to have a monitor function as well: https://onyxboox.com/boox_max3

If I am reading reviews correctly it has micro(?) HDMI and a usb-C port. However, the usb port seems to only be for charging/keyboards/data etc., not for display port (next model maybe?).

I had an original Onyx Boox and it was so terrible, inflexible, and softwarily out-of-date from the moment of shipping that I gave it away within about a month. It was also slower at even responding to page-flip commands on PDFs than my iPad 2. And I'm giving it a fairly wide berth for the slower refresh rate of e-ink-- talking push button 3 seconds elapse blanks and draws new page

edit: I see that they're still shipping Android 6-based devices in 2020. Lovely stuff.

Don't have one, but the review sounds like the max 3 is the complete opposite: https://goodereader.com/blog/reviews/onyx-boox-max3-review

Overpowered hardware, stock android 9, no restrictions.

It's way too big and expensive for the purpose. And all the smaller one don't do it. I would consider a 10" screen for sure but 13.3"? That's too much.

So it's you who got that incredibly sick 1733 custom bag! Figures I'd run into you here. /r/ManyBaggers says hello!

Been looking at these for sheet music! (The larger models.) The ability to natively run Google Play Books is a huge bonus too, very few offer that compatibility and that's where most of my books are.

I wish Movies Anywhere existed for ebooks but there's no way Amazon would go for it. :(

I own an onyx boox and I can't emphasize enough how much I don't recommend it for anyone. If I had known the company was a serial GPL violator, I would have never purchased it in the first place. My recommendation would be to wait for the refresh of the ReMarkable Tablet, as it runs GNU/Linux and there is a healthy community of people who have made a ton of applications and tools for it [0]. This will likely never occur with any Onyx products and you will be stuck with a device running an old version of Android with SELinux disabled, on a vulnerable kernel, that constantly phones home to Chinese cloud servers.

I explain it all in this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21041543

[0]: https://github.com/reHackable/awesome-reMarkable

I have an olde Barnes and Noble Nook that I rooted and installed Play Books. Used that for years to read public domain books that I got from Gutenberg and uploaded to Play to get position synced between my phone and Nook. Now I mostly read Libby. I also have the Kindle app on the Nook, so I need to see if the old version of the app still works and if I can send books from Libby to it.

I'd love something like the BOOX Max3 13.3 but sadly I'm locked into Amazon's Kindle with an extensive collection of books.

You always can liberate your DRM-ed ebooks with something like Calibre + plugin.

If it runs Android why can't you install the Amazon Kindle app?

Thank you! I somehow completely forgot about that.

You can do this!

Not impossible to export them into an open format [0]

I recently deleted my Amazon account and now use the kindle as plain e-reader as far as that is possible (ie buy and load books from other sources).

[0] https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=283371

How's the battery life, or to be inexact, how often do you recharge it?

I haven't managed to get the battery down below maybe 70%, but I only charge it like once or twice a week. It's impressive.

what model did you get?

I got the Boox Note 2, which is 10.3 inches. It's just large enough to be useful, but not so big to be unwieldy.

Video I saw looks cool, but 500 bones! I'd be concerned my handwriting would be too small or illegible to be an effective primary notepad.

How do you use it?

As far as dealing with legibility, it has pretty high resolution, so you can write small if you'd like. You can also zoom in and out to write larger if you'd like.

I use it for reading and note taking. It's helpful to jot something down quickly or to take more in-depth notes. You can also install Android apps on there too, so I use Firefox to browse the web (reading articles on Wikipedia, doing research into software products) and sync that with my phone to easily pass data between them.

Thanks for the info!

> "13.3” ACeP display is suitable for various applications, e.g. Artwork, Signage, Retail, etc…"

These various applications sound like static images without fast refresh requirements. I wonder what the refresh rate is like on these.

I'm still waiting with bated breath for a reliable e-ink computer monitor comes out with a decent refresh rate. I'd even be happy with just greyscale.

Per below vid, it looks like refresh rate is ~25 seconds. Doubt you'll be able to use it for a monitor anytime soon.


If the colors are good enough, this would be awesome as a digital photo frame though. Current digital photo frames emit light which is not something you want from a photo on your wall.

A few of these, updating them maybe once a day, would be excellent.

>digital photo frame

Also for outdoor advertisement. Replacing those LED backlight. Unfortunately the video has shown the quality isn't anywhere near good enough. PPI and colour accuracy are too low.

Also a photo frame that doesn't consume energy 24/7 would be nice.

That's a great idea. Given the connectors look so fragile, how would one go about mounting this to be enclosed in a real frame to have it look nice?

Oof, that's even way too slow for e-book usage. Still, it's nice to see this technology progressing. There's obviously a massive use case for battery-limited devices like smartwatches and smartphones.

The dream of someday coding on a high-resolution decent-refresh-rate color e-paper monitor is still alive!

Well, what you could do is strap two back to back to each other. So like front: page1, back: page2. Then when you "turn the page" it skips evens/odds and you just flip the display over to get page2 while page3 buffers on the other side :p

Flipping back to page1 would be problematic.

not if they are bound with a circular ring

There are still tons of applications:

Digital photo frames that cycle throughout the day, dynamic posters and murals with art that changes with the time or viewer, refreshing price labels, clocks with minute resolution, data visualization over large time intervals, informational displays...

You might not even have to paint the entire screen at once, but can perhaps update only the dirty regions.

Not everything needs to display video or respond in real time to human input. There's so much painted in the world around us that could have value added by letting it refresh on the day, hour, or minute.

BestBuy already uses eink for their price tags. Something like this: https://www.eink.com/electronic-shelf-label.html?type=applic...

The only way I'd accept one of these hanging on my wall was if it had computer vision to check & verify that there's nobody in the room before it starts that god-awful flickery 25 second update process. Eurgh.

Someone did something like this with a torn-apart 5k iMac, mounting the display in a gilded frame and having it cycle through various images of fine art but only when the camera determined that nobody was looking at it.


>A fun (but impractical and frustrating) variant of this feature is to have the image change as soon as the viewer looks away. So you’re looking at a painting, glance away to another room, and look back to find a new painting hanging on the wall.

Also interesting that the iMac doesn't have TrueTone, so he had to do the white-balance matching himself.

Oh come now, if it updated oncer per day, that's 25 seconds of flicker per 86,375 seconds of viewing. And you could set it to update at 2am when everyone is asleep.

(Computer vision would be cool though, imagine if it was different every time you left and re-entered a room?)

Humans are pretty perceptive of things flickering in the periphery of their vision, especially when they happen only rarely (as opposed to, say, xmas tree lights).

That said, you could probably put a one-cell LCD (like those shadeable windows on the 787) over the screen to black it out during the update.

Should be enough for keyboards !

> The dream of someday coding on a high-resolution decent-refresh-rate color e-paper monitor is still alive!

Honestly I'd say this is possible now. Modern two-color (usually black/red) e-paper panels can refresh at 5-10hz. Grayscale only panels can go even faster, but it's not a huge problem for text. My e-reader gets around 100 hours of battery life but drops under 10 if I enable wifi and any lighting. That's running a lightly modified android. I'd imagine a dedicated os just for text and vpn/git could do quite well. Currently the only players in the big e-paper market are going for ereader or "sketchbook" markets.

I'm guessing it's faster if it's only rendering a small photo within a page (like a textbook). If the area of the image is roughly 1/10 the page, with the rest being basic b&w text. It should take a few seconds only.

> "I'm still waiting with bated breath for a reliable e-ink computer monitor comes out with a decent refresh rate. I'd even be happy with just greyscale."

Dasung's current generation grayscale e-ink monitor comes pretty close, IMO. It even does adequate video playback: https://youtu.be/vnUACe8Bsyg?t=27

I have one and agree. The software support for Linux is nonexistent which is a shame, but it’s still great after you tune your colors for it (eg. Black text on white background).

I don't know if anyone is really working on this, the "killer feature" of eInk is that the display only draws power when it's refreshing. You can drive them much faster, iirc there have been several proof of concepts using extant consumer screens going at 60Hz, so it's totally possible. I just don't think there's much market for it and I bet it stresses the tech in weird ways to run it that fast. Definitely possible though.

I'm optimistic because devices like smart phones and smart watches are things that benefit from having very low idle power when just displaying mostly static info but require a much faster refresh rate in active use. Being able to read them easily in bright daylight would also be a great plus. That's a good market.

Even laptops would probably benefit from it, when you're typing some text or reading a document you don't need 60fps refresh rate (especially if you can only refresh portions of the screen). That might save a significant amount of battery.

Non-backlit LCDs already have pretty low idle power though. Normal digital watches last about a decade on a battery and smartwatches like the Amazfit Bip last about a month on a charge with the screen always on (and bluetooth, heart rate monitor, etc which are surely a pretty large fraction of the power draw). And then the biggest smartwatch manufactures have decided to use OLED and have 2 day battery life for some reason.

For what it's worth, I have a Garmin 645 smartwatch, which uses a transflective display; the user experience is about the same as e-ink. I love it. The "white" is kinda silver-grey, but it's perfectly functional, and I get a week's battery life. As a former Pebble owner, I think the trend toward smartwatches with OLED displays and short battery life is a terrible one.

The Sharp "memory LCD" displays are nearly zero power and can update at 60hz if you really felt like it. They stopped making them sadly, but they were used in the Pebble Watch (it's marketing claimed ePaper, it wasn't).

The just-released Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera uses a "memory LCD" with dimensions that match one made by Sharp.

Nice, so we might get a new Pebble-like smartwatch ?

Interesting. I thought they were long gone.

The other feature is it doesn't shine light.

This would be the main reason I would buy an eInk monitor.

There are already a lot of reflective LCD displays. For example in digital clocks and watches but they are all monochrome.

Pixel Qi promised reflective displays but I believe the reflective mode is only grayscale.

Color ones exist too : Game Boy Color, Pebble Color...

Neither do most of the other common display technologies available to us!

EDIT: Can't reply to TeMPOraL, but I think that's not true, they need polarized light. I'm not an expert on this but my intuition is there are unrealized advances to be made in the field of reflective LCD-based displays. I just don't think there's much demand to research these applications and connect the dots. I would be surprised if you couldn't make a pretty decent, high refresh rate reflective display using an LCD based approach.

But they do! If they don't emit lights from pixels, they usually need a backlight to be legible.

E-ink is nice because it does not need a light source to be fully legible in any condition in which print is.

Transflective LCDs do not need a light source either, and, unlike e-ink, can use a backlight in low light conditions.

They're just an exception confirming the rule, though.

E-ink does need a light source, it's impossible to read without sufficient environmental lighting (like real paper).

One thing I noticed with my Pebble Time is how, unlike any other LCD I've seen so far, polarized glasses don't have an effect on it for some reason ! (It might be due to multiple layers of weird liquid crystals ?)

> I'm still waiting with bated breath for a reliable e-ink computer monitor comes out with a decent refresh rate. I'd even be happy with just greyscale.

CLEARink have a best-of-all-worlds high-refresh rate color e-paper that want to release products around mid 2020.

They appear to be an early stages startup at best. No sign of product demos or even media photos from their public events on their site.

As of last year they had only just partnered with a manufacturer and had yet to ship actual Dev or Demo kits.

They've shown excellent pre-production models, and have $300m in ‘confirmed commitments’. I'm not going to bet they'll be on time, but it seems wrong to dismiss them as just talk.


From what I've seen, they have 2 demo displays that are locked in cabinets under controlled lighting conditions. They might have a viable product but they're still in the R&D stage from what I can tell.

Sure, if everything prior to actively mass manufacturing counts as R&D, but they've proven they can manufacture, that the product works and outperforms the competitors, and they have customers. I was objecting to ‘early stages startup’ and ‘No sign of product demos’, not to the idea that there are still challenges to overcome.

Refresh rates on eink are generally poor. But it seems uncommon to worry about Hertz or frames per second, because the advantage of low power usage disappears if they are refreshed at anything approaching "realtime".

For applications which need fast refresh rates and characteristics like good readability under sunlight, transflexive LCD displays seem to be more popular and economical.

Remember, eink works by physically moving 'ink' particles within each pixel using a magnetic field. It takes a lot of power and time compared to how quickly electronic signals usually propagate, and it seems difficult to get around that physical limitation.

Refresh rates can actually vary a lot. They're intentionally slow on book readers, because eInk is rather power hungry when it redraws, so fast refresh is not free. But for a dedicated display, it's not a problem, so e.g. Dasung jacks the refresh rate way up on their monitors. Take a look at e.g. typing and scrolling here:


The problem I’ve had is just how jarring the transitions are on refresh. I don’t need it to run continuously at 24/29/60/120 FPS, but I do want it to load the next page in like 25ms. So imagine it taking more power to update the display, but it still isn’t refreshing continuously so would hopefully still have power consumption advantage.

(Even a drawing application could maybe handle it if you could refresh subsections of the display)

At least for grayscale e-ink (Carta) displays they have this under control quite nicely. Full refresh isn't needed often, and when it's needed it's a fast rolling refresh rather than the traditional full screen blanking. Although I'm not sure if that is a reMarkable specific feature.

Ignoring the details of the physics and mechanics of how it would work of course :). My highest Physics grade was an NZ C+, so somewhere in the 55-60% range :)

If you don't mind power consumption then you can also use reflective LCD display's.

Brand like Pixel Qi offer those. They have 3 modes: backlight, reflective, and a combination of both. But to be fair the reflective mode always looks monochrome to me.

Why is that? Do you do a lot of computing outdoors in direct sunlight? I'll admit, the idea of a laptop whose LCD can go transparent to reveal an e-ink display behind it is very appealing.

> Why is that?

Not OP, but I daydream of a big character cell display for console work, especially my development work which is basically vi and a few other tools multiplexed in tmux. Not sure how it’d play out in reality, but in my mind it’s just more pleasant to work with hour over hour.

That close to why I got the Dasung: to be able to work outside. I’m mostly in tmux, Emacs, or reading docs, so the colors is irrelevant and refresh rates ok.

Ah cool! So you have practical experience - how’s that all going then? The biggest Dasung I saw on my quick search was ~13”, and very expensive; do you feel like yours was a worthwhile experience?

For me it's kind of pointless indoors and the weather is not yet ideal for outdoors. When I did use it outdoors (a couple of days) it worked as advertised, but using an external monitor was awkward. A notebook with the same panel would have been much better.

TL;DR: probably not, but I'm still evaluating. (A proper stand for it might also help - what's included is laughably flimsy)

It wouldn't need an e-ink display. The backlight is separate from the display, remember the GameBoy Color? You just need a reflective layer that polarizes the light.

I do wonder why transflective displays went out of style. My PDAs from 2003-2007 were all perfectly viewable in direct sunlight in color.

This has a refresh rate of 25 SECONDS - so it's not going to replace your black and white kindle display or be useful for dynamic content.

Who remembers browsing the web/usenet on 28800Kbps modems?

I think you have an extra K on there! I do remember my 36 kbps modem though, but the web was optimized for that speed. Webpages had "image warnings"!

14.4kbps checking in.

Ah, 90s kids' nostalgia. How fun was it to start a large download before school and then running home to see if the download completed or was interrupted because your mom used the phone during the day? I remember it would take hours upon hours to download netscape. It was both exhilarating and infurating at the same time.

A slow modem (or indeed no modem!) is nothing like a 30s refresh rate.

A slow modem meant waiting hours though.

30 seconds the image load hadn’t gotten to her neck yet.

I remember that feeling when you get a shiny new 28800 USR Sportster, only to find out that your local BBS is capped at 9600...

Hacking USR Sportster 14.4k's to Courier 16.8k's. Good times, good times.

28 megabits per second?! I sure don't...

I remember reading BBSs over a 300 baud modem. If you read fast, you could read the text at the speed it came in.

The web at 2400 baud was slow. Really slow.

My first modem was 75/300. It was capable of support both 75 baud and 300 when someone started serving that fast.

Fast enough for split screen chat in real time, if you were so fortunate as to have a friend with a modem also.

1200 baud yo!

(It was actually a really neat little thing, I wish I still had it)

I'd buy one of these for a picture frame, to have changeable art. Sounds nuts (?), but at some point a big one of these would cost less than a painting and you have it change to suit your mood.

...and I've been postponing buying an E-ink device in hopes of getting a color one!

One of my main excuses has been the fact color is useful for programming books because you have syntax highlighting. Now I'm realizing reflective color screens may never really come, and it's probably better to devise some kind of software workaround. Some kind of system that would replace colored fonts with a system of very distinctive set of typefaces that work well in B&W.

This works out to be 0.04 frames per second! :(

    1 frame / every 25 seconds = 0.04 frames per second
Maybe slideshows are all it can handle


My oldest son is a voracious reader, and I would love to get him on an e reader, but I don't want to go for a traditional screen, so the lack of color e ink type option kinda stops me.

Does he only read comic books? Black and white screen is ideal for most of the world's books.

He reads just about anything but I'm not inclined to make an investment in a device that wouldn't include graphic novels and similar color content. I just don't think it would last.

I read a lot of comics, but I also read a lot of regular books. For now, I read using a 10" Chuwi tablet because it gives me a decent, color screen, at a decent size and weight, at a reasonable price.

I would LOVE to have an eink reader that could fulfill this role. I have been watching and waiting for years.

Is it archive.org or the original site that went out of it's way to force "smooth scrolling" on me?

Edit: original site is working now, it's them.

There should be a Developers Pledge: I, [state your name], hereby agree upon pain of death to never do things like force smooth scrolling, override scroll speed, implement a header that bounces based on scroll direction, etc...

>override scroll speed

if anyone does that I'll find that person and kill them with dull spoon.

There is nothing more infuriating than that little thing - why would even anyone do that? what's the use case? why waste dev time on that?

It's usually not dev, a product guy came up with a stupid idea with enough cash in hand, dev often oblige and for sure always find a way.

And the product guy did it because a sales team came in and said without load of color and animation then we won't be able to sell the product.

And the sales guy did it because a prospect said we really like all the features and the price but your product doesn't have as much color and animation as Acme Inc's product.

And the prospect did it because they actually prefer Acme Inc's product but they don't like Acme Inc's price so if they are going to have to go with the second choice product then let's get something done about the colors/animation before we close the sale.

And then we have the product guy coming back and working out what is the least or least worst thing we can do to remove the sales resistance, close out the sale and have everybody paid.

what a rare treat on HN, some actual understanding of systemic causality rather than glib dismissals of the "obvious bad guy" in the scenario.

I doubt the product guys even know what smooth scrolling is.

AirBnB does all of these things and breaks assets by caching corrupted downloads, as well as having gigantic, drive a fleet of rickshaws through a chasm of race conditions. I get ptsd from the anger management problems I’ll have in future when I think about using their software. Even now, I need to stop, it hurts.

AirBnB web team, if you read this. Fire your boss, their boss and then remove the org from your resume as you do a year or two traveling the world. Hopefully booking rooms by walking up and saying, ‘this places looks nice, do you have a room available?’

The first time it sounds interesting, and until you try it in the real world you don't know for sure if it is a good idea or not. (some things that seemed like bad ideas have turned out really good - though that is somewhat rare it happens enough that trying something once is excusable). Trying it a second time though is generally stupid (unless you can come up with a significant twist that changes whatever made it bad the first time)

Also: never override the pinch-zoom. This should be an automatic accessibility failure unless your site actually is a full-screen zoomable map or similar.

... never add falling snowflakes effect during Christmas.

There should be a way to prevent it by default in browsers.

Only if it's created in the standardized way that browsers can disable. But if they go out of their way to catch mouse events and move the body of the page certain amount of pixels back or other crazy measures like that, then there is nothing a browser can and will ever be able to do about it.

Smooth scrolling is a CSS3 feature implemented by (many but not all) modern browsers so you'll be seeing it around a lot - see https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/scroll-beha... + https://drafts.csswg.org/cssom-view/#propdef-scroll-behavior

This looks like it will only animate the scrolling when clicking on anchor links? Doesn't seem that bad to me.

Mozilla link says

> Note that any other scrolls, such as those performed by the user, are not affected by this property.

Dear god why?

Better to put it as an "officially supported" standard, where it can be turned off by the user, rather than in some 500kB JS library.

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