Next e-reader innovation: scrolling E-Ink web pages

A new technology innovation could sway some would-be tablet buyers to instead purchase a dedicated e-reader. Bookeen, one of the oldest companies in the e-reader space, has spent two years of research and development on a new High Speed Ink System (HSIS). The HSIS uses traditional E-Ink technology, but is capable of both faster text refreshes as well as scrolling web pages and menus. Bookeen’s Odyssey will be the first reader to use HSIS when it debuts in the coming weeks.

This demo video, produced by Bookeen in May, shows off an early version of the HSIS technology while panning around a standard web page on an E-Ink display:

The new display will debut in the Bookeen Odyssey within a few weeks in Europe. Along with the HSIS technology and 6-inch Pearl touch screen, the Odyssey uses a Texas Instruments (s txn) 800 MHz processor, Wi-Fi connectivity, 20 font sizes, internal storage for 2,000 books, and a microSD card slot for additional memory expansion. The low-power requirements of the E-Ink screen allow for around 25,000 page flips. No price or availability date has been announced.

As someone who reviewed one of Bookeen’s dedicated e-book readers back in 2004, it’s nice to see the company is still around and pushing innovation. For those who prefer an E-Ink display but would like to supplement reading with occasional web browsing, the Odyssey with its unique scrolling display could make for a good compromise. I don’t know if the device will make it to the U.S.; competition among e-readers is fairly tight here with Amazon’s(s amzn) Kindle family, the Barnes & Noble(s bks) Nook devices and some others such as Kobo’s e-readers.

Still, I wonder if Bookeen is on to something here with the scrolling E-Ink display. The technology behind it could overshadow the actual Bookeen e-readers if the company is willing to license it to the more prominently known brands.