These next-generation readers will sport color displays with refresh rates capable of supporting video, and they will also use flexible display technologies. However, that doesn't mean that you'll be able to roll them up (yet). Instaed, they will make the devices a lot less fragile.
These upgrades will usher in a new age of e-book content, including books and periodicals that depend heavily on detailed color graphics (think children's books or textbooks), video content (think magazines and newspapers), and superior durability (all of the above). While you can read printed content on just about any computer or smartphone these days, the LCD displays on most computers and smartphones aren't particularly well suited to serve as paper substitutes. For one thing, they are backlit, and gazing at a backlit display for extended periods of time can fatigue the human eye.
According to PCWorld, one of the most intriguing upcoming e-reader technologies comes from Qualcomm, the company best known for its mobile network technologies. Qualcomm MEMS (microelectromechanical systems ) Technologies has been showing a display technology it calls Mirasol for several years now. Mirasol is an interferometric modulation (IMOD) technology that, like its electrophoretic rivals, is reflective and doesn't use a backlight. But the similarities end here. Mirasol uses two conductive plates that pull apart when a charge is applied to them; in the same way as a prism creates rainbows, a Mirasol display will create different colors as light passes through it depending on the distance between the plates.
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey says that another possible contender in the e-reader display market might be a hybrid technology that blends some of the benefits of an LCD with those of a reflective display. A company called Pixel Qi has been showing prototypes of its 10-inch transflective display for netbooks and e-book readers; it claims to offer superior readability (especially indoors, when the LCD backlighting kicks in) and image quality.