China is the first country to launch a full colour ebook reader this month.

New and affordable ebook readers with full colour E Ink screens are sure to compete well with tablet PCs such as the Apple iPad in 2011.

The Hanvon color e-reader is set to be officially unveiled later this week at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo.

It is the first ebook device with a full colour E Ink screen from Hanvon Technology, a Chinese company based in Beijing,

E Ink's black-and-white screen tech is used in over 90 per cent of e-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader and Barnes and Nobles' Nook.

"Colour is the next logical step for E Ink," according to Vinita Jakhanwal, an analyst at iSuppli.

E Ink's colour screens are not quite as bright or sharp as the colour LCD screens on tablet PCs such as the Apple iPad, although they have the distinct benefit of using up far less battery power (and thus having far longer battery life for holidays and extended trips away from home).

Amazon is waiting until it is convinced that E Ink's new colour tech is ready to be used in the next generation of Kindle readers.

Sony is also waiting until E Ink can provide 'vibrant colour' according to Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading business division.

"On a list of things that people want in e-readers, colour always comes up," noted Haber.

"There's no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant colour. We're not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience."

No word as yet on whether we might see a UK release of Hanvon's colour E Ink ebook reader.

"It's possible that we'll sell this in the US as well," said Hanvon founder and chairman, Liu Yingjian.

Via The New York Times