Amazon Could Put LCD and E-Ink in the Same Read-Anywhere Tablet

Back in 2010, a company called Pixel Qi seemed to have neared perfection with its transforming display. In a flash, it could bounce between a glare-free black and white readable screen and a vibrant LCD offering. Two years later, and we're still waiting to see a major product actually use it.

Well, some of us are, anyway. Amazon, though? It apparently decided to just take matters into its own hands.

The patent above may not look like much, but don't let the mirror-mirror action fool you. What Amazon's proposing isn't one display that switches back and forth, but rather a tablet (or any other device) that has a front LCD display and a rear e-ink (or comparable) display. The tablet would know which one to kick into gear based on how you were holding it, and either side could be touch-sensitive. It's like Janus, the two-headed Greek god of transitions. Or, if you rather, a mullet.

As exciting as the prospect of a tablet that's equally capable in the sun and the shade might be, let's not get our hopes up quite yet. The patent was applied for back in February of 2011, which doesn't give a lot of time for it to have become a real thing in time for Amazon's Kindle announcement next week. And some—most, even—patents never become productized anyway.

Still, though, for those of us lamenting Pixel Qi's failure to materialize, this at least gives hope that the dream is still alive—and in the hands of a company with the money and drive to make it happen. [USPTO via Engadget]