New technology means colour epaper tablet newspapers and magazines could be possible in two years, developers have claimed.

Mike Nelson, general manager of sales for Fujitsu Europe, told an industry conference, in London, that colour epaper technology, on which portable tablet newspapers could be carried, will be ready for use in two years.

Demonstrating a prototype of what he claimed was the world's first colour epaper, he said the idea of black-and-white epaper was redundant and the colour version would see first use next year in supermarket displays.

"All the print media has moved to colour. When you read your newspaper, it's in colour. I don't believe the industry will accept going back to a black-and-white format just to embrace the new technology.

"The technology has to move the printed image on somewhat and add some usability and user value," he told Journalism.co.uk.

"The first application will be as electronic labels for supermarkets and that will start next year, with much smaller screens but the same technology in colour."

Mr Nelson added that Fujitsu was looking to form alliances with content providers and tablet manufacturers so that, once the technology was ready, it would not be delayed in getting to market.

"It's probably two years away before we can get the screen manufacturing technology up to scratch for an A5 or bigger size in colour. That is when we can talk about distributing magazines and so forth on it.

"The way to make a success of this market is through a collaboration. It's not just a product market where we make the screens and someone else integrates than and sells them to a third party who distributes media on them.

"Much better to have all the elements of that business together from the start to make sure the end product and the end distribution is viable."

Mr Nelson said the technology, which can run on very little power, was not yet in a position to handle moving images and was therefore not a threat to traditional LCD in the short term.

"LCD is much better at the moment for moving images, the update on here is relatively slow - about one second or so. That's OK for flicking through the pages of a book or newspaper, but it would not be any good for video in its current state."

He added: "The technology is very similar to LCD screen technology except with a conventional LCD screen, as soon as you remove the power, the image goes.

"With this, once the screen has set the image it says there forever. With an A5 size screen I could change the image every two seconds for more than a year from the power in a single AAA battery."

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