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PlasticLogic’s New ePaper Tablet to Debuts at CES 2013 (video)

January 7th, 2013 by · 9 Comments · conferences & trade shows, hardware news, video

papertab 1 I almost didn’t go CES this year because I didn’t think would be any new or really cool gadgets to write about, but now that PlasticLogic Intel has proven me wrong I’m glad I’m here.

A new partnership has been announced between PlasticLogic, Intel, and Queen University’s Human Media Lab. This Ontario based university has just revealed the PaperTab, a new flexible tablet based around PlasticLogic’s  epaper screen.

This tablet is running on a second generation Intel Core i5, and it uses the same 10.7″ plastic display which had previously been developed for PlasticLogic past failed devices like the Que and the PL 100, which was developed for the Russian education market. This tablet also has a touchscreen, and as you can see in the video it uses a rather fascinating way to transfer files from one screen to the next which looks to be similar to the tap-and share technology used in Samsung’s smartphones.

Other tricks shown off in the video include flexing the tablet to turn the page, something we’ve seen before in the Snaplet, a smart watch style device which the HML unveiled last year. That device was probably never planned as a commercial release, but clearly that project has influenced the PaperTab.

Before someone points out that a tethered device hardly qualifies as a tablet, let me say that I agree.  That doesn’t mean it’s not cool, though it does suggest that this won’t ever be a less-than-ridiculously device.

papertab 2

The several screens used in the demo video cost some hundreds of dollars, and that puts it out of the running. I’m someone who is in the habit of working on 3 or more screens at once, a work process which is enabled by cheap Android tablets.  While they might not be able to integrate as well as the PaperTab, my Android tablets function better as standalone devices.

In any case, this device is said to be at CES this week. I’ll seek it out.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • binf

    “In PaperTab, each app is a tablet”

    A manufacturer’s wet dream ….

    • fjtorres

      Uh, would “pipe” dream be more accurate.
      (In the original sense of the term, too. Somebody has been inhaling.)

  • Sweetpea

    I really like the idea of it. And that it’s connected now, doesn’t mean it needs to be connected in the future!

  • Mike Cane

    Did you see the “speed” of typing an email replay? My one question: ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS?

    • Void

      It’s a prototype. Obviously they’ll improve things before they release it. Did you really expect a partnership that was just announce to ship the next day?

      • Mike Cane

        This is *eInk*, FFS. Why should people have to struggle with typing due to screen refresh when that’s what LCD OSKs can do without any problems? It will never emerge from “prototype,” either. There is zero market for this.

  • Fabian

    I am not sure why people want a flexible e-reader. Can’t you see how annoying the light reflexes are in the screen? A rigid screen allows for positioning in such a way as not getting any flare from the lights in the room. A flexible produces multiple light reflexes.

    • Sweetpea

      A flexible ereader doesn’t have to be this flexible, but if it’s flexible enough to sit safely in a bag without breaking, I’ll be very happy. A rigid case with a flexible screen would be very nice (compare to a hardcover book with only a fraction of its weight…)

  • The Rantiste

    Ah, another solution in search of a problem.

    Never mentioned (aside from Fabian’s light-reflecting drawback) is what a total hassle these devices would be to use in an environment without a hard flat surface. Imagine trying to handle email with one on the subway or a bus or on a park bench.

    I *can* envision this technology being applied to the specialized problem of blueprints, which the demo briefly covers. My brother-in-law works in the commercial flooring business and gets enormous b-and-w blueprints printed by a plotter. They have to be rolled up and messengered or mailed over in big cardboard tubes, and when they’re not in use they take up a ton of space. Having a tablet like this measuring, say, 36″ x 48″ would allow him to get the files electronically as PDFs and display them only when he needs to study them.

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