Folding phones already exist. With the new generation, various manufacturers are making the concept suitable for the mass market. We have also seen foldable laptops, although more of an approach with two displays is used. Is the foldable e-reader coming now?
E-Ink is the market leader in e-readers. Most of the e-readers on the market rely on the display technology of the Taiwanese company. The grayscale display of the same name is considered state-of-the-art when it comes to the sharp representation of texts with minimal power consumption. With the new Kaleido color display , E-Ink is preparing to make a convincing offer in the field of color display. So far, this area has been dominated by tablets, which however have many other disadvantages compared to e-readers.
E-Ink brings folding readers with pen input
The following video shows a prototype of a new foldable e-reader, which also has a pen input, which was developed in collaboration with Wacom. The work on the concept seems to be carried out with some vehemence. After all, in the video we first see a prototype from June that still looks quite fragile, as well as a newer concept that seems much closer to a marketable product. The video was published by the specialist e-book website Goodereader.com . The prototype is said to have been developed by the e-ink research department in Tokyo, Japan.
The operating concept works with a capacitive 10.3-inch touchscreen, to which a number of operating elements have been added on the right. Functions such as scrolling through the document can be triggered at the push of a button. Pen input appears to be limited to the right-hand area of the screen. It is used to write notes or comments as well as to mark passages. At the top of the device, E-Ink has placed two light strips that are supposed to illuminate the screen evenly in the dark. The display is not backlit.
Is it actually practical or something for retro fans?
As can be seen in the video, the folding process makes a robust impression. E-Ink designed the hinge technology to be relatively stiff in order to avoid excessive folding processes and the resulting display breakages. It is precisely the folding aspect that makes the e-ink concept appealing. After all, in this way the e-reader corresponds in particular to what we have stored in our brain convolutions as typical for a notebook for decades. The prototype still has to prove in later stages whether practicality can follow nostalgia.
In addition to this question, it remains to be seen whether E-Ink will manage to further reduce the screen bezels and the folding area around the oversized hinges. It would also be important to bring the high latency when writing on the e-ink display to a bearable level. At the moment, pen and paper are still clearly ahead, closely followed by pens and tablets.