The E Ink Corporation has shown off its new foldable e-reader in a two-minute video. As reported by Engadget this follows a trend of foldable smartphones. Therefore, logic dictates e-readers were always likely to follow the same path.
This prototype is the first iteration of what could become more commonplace in the future. E Ink has been relatively quiet since the fruits of its partnership with Sony came to fruition in 2017. This saw exciting smartwatches and tablets created.
We've seen dual-screen devices from E Ink the past but this one takes a slightly different approach. The prototype is likely to take a while to come to market. There are a number of issues to iron out but if the company is able to this could be a very important innovation.
E Ink creates first foldable e-reader prototype
The foldable e-reader that boasts a 10.3-inch screen. This has made people comment that it would be great for digital newspapers given such a large screen.
The design of the device sees buttons down one side of the screen. Then a robust hinge in the middle along with fold-down lightbars which can be used to illuminate the screen.
The e-reader also has the capability to allow users to highlight passages with a stylus. You can also take notes on the device. This is not the first time E Ink have incorporated this technology into an e-reader. However, functionally at least, it is a seriously impressive piece of kit.
Design issues to iron out before release
There are a number of more visual and design issues to sort out before this will go to market. Many have pointed out that the design is quite clunky and not exactly appealing.
The prototype also has massive bezels which have left some less than impressed. The idea of having to manually having to switch on lightbars and fold them down also seems a bit cumbersome. Just to get some better nighttime reading light this feature misses the market slightly.
Given this is a prototype and still very much a work in progress we can hardly be too critical. It has already evolved a lot since earlier iterations and we expect that to happen more over the coming months.
It seems that elegance and convenience are the main issues to iron out. Functionally it is sound but to make it a commercial success it needs to appeal to the simplicity of the customer. There is no reason to say E Ink cannot improve further on this model to make it a success but this may take some time.