Foldable smartphones are slowly making their way into the mainstream. Could Foldable E-Readers Be Next? E Ink Corporation, the company behind the digital paper technology found in most e-readers, is trying to make this happen. The company's research and development lab has been developing foldable e-ink screens for some time. The latest prototype clearly shows the potential of the idea.
The video above is from GoodEReader.com and shows a prototype foldable e-reader developed by E Ink. An earlier version came out in June, but the latest hardware has a sturdier hinge, five dedicated buttons on the right side of the device, and two light bars at the top of the screen for lighting. There is also built-in Wacom technology for jotting down, making annotations and highlighting passages with a pen.
The folding movement looks smooth even though the prototype hardware isn't mainstream ready.
The overall concept is fascinating. As with foldable smartphones, a foldable e-reader promises more screen space in a smaller package. There is also the pleasant familiarity with the folding format, which makes the device look more like a book or a notepad. When you add the ability to take notes and sync reading materials, you get an extremely useful kit.
But it seems that the technology isn't quite there yet. The bezels of this prototype are huge, the flip-up light strips are reminiscent of devices from the 90s, while writing down e-readers in general is still limited by low latency. Using e-readers to write notes is certainly a growing market, but it's not yet seamless enough to overtake old-fashioned pen and paper. Nevertheless, we will follow the development of this technology with interest.