The Chinese company Onyx, which is mainly known by their Onyx-Boox ebook readers, announced these days to publish an Android smartphone that integrates an e-Ink touch display. To use e-Ink displays has several advantages as well as some major negative aspects too. As many e-Ink based ebook readers already proved, e-Ink displays offer great readability in direct sunlight. The perfect contrast of e-Ink displays is not comparable with traditional displays. Also the fact that e-Ink displays can show and persist scenes over days without using energy is a really cool feature that helps to run the Onyx smartphone for at least a week without reloading. Negative aspects of e-Ink displays are the low update frequencies and very reduced color capabilities at best, which makes it hard or even impossible to use e-Inks for multimedia applications. This Onyx phone is definitely not the best choice for multimedia evangelists but it could prove a valuable design for outdoor purposes, passionate e-book readers, travelers or elderly people with debility of sight.
Txtr, one of the leading European ebook marketplaces, recently announced txtrbeagle a low end external eInk reading device. By offering no cable connection, no WLAN and only Bluetooth to connect to a specific Smartphone-App that converts and transmits books in raw image format, the txtrbeagle dispenses a powerful CPU as well as power consumpting multimedia features. This low energy strategy allows extremly long periods of operation with just two AAA batteries and a price around 10 Euro. txtrbeagle offers a resolution of 800×600 and an internal 4GB storage, which is enough for storing 5 books in raw image format. According to it’s extreme low price as well as it’s easy connectability to smartphones, several companies already announced ideas to use txtrbeagle as external eInk display for various application scenarios.