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back to article Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

E Ink reckons its "Mobius" flexible epaper screen will be the first of its kind to go into mass production, an event the company claims will take place some time later this year. The Mobius will make its debut as a 13.3-inch panel built into a unnamed “digital paper product” made by Sony, which co-developed the panel with E Ink …

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Silver badge

Any sign of the prs-t3?

I like the idea but you'd need a tube to protect it while you're carrying it around.

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Bronze badge

The "tube" can be part of the design. Just as a keyboard/cover is with the iPads/RT tablets?

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Not portable

At 13 inches it would be unwieldy at best. Cue the tech support stories about the people you fold it tightly into quarters to put it in their pocket. Until you can fold it like paper, best not to allow people to bend it at all.

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Silver badge

Re: Not portable

If the screen were flexible (with a bending radius of, say, 16mm), a 13" sheet could be folded over into something roughly the size of a paperback book- 'jacket pocket' friendly. The battery and processor wouldn't have to be flexible.

Point taken, though... a company would want to exhaustively test the durability of a flexible display before selling it to the public, or else risk a lot of returns six months down the line.

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Meh

Re: Not portable

"Point taken, though... a company would want to exhaustively test the durability of a flexible display before selling it to the public, or else risk a lot of returns six months down the line."

That's progress for you. Back in the early days of computers, and later,laptops, the users paid a small fortune to buy one or their employer supplied it. But all users knew the value of the equipment and it's fragility. The components to build them cost a lot due to high R&D costs and low yields. This gave the manufactures time and money to further develop the products while improving on cost and yield.

In todays markets, the big consumer suppliers seem to aim solely at the mass market product so it has to "ready" for them, ie durable such that even a moron can use and abuse the product with little risk of breaking it. To some extent, that seems to be slowing the release of revolutionary new tech in favour of small and minor increments. The Corp. buyers are maybe equally to blame too as they want to roll out new tech to all and sundry at box-shifter prices rather than giving the "best and newest" to those who need/deserve it (or are high enough up that they must have it :-)

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FAIL

Who cares about flexible?

Phones with 4.5" - 5" screens can make good reading devices. The largest battery drain is the screen, colour e-ink has been available (at prototype stage) for years.

Why all this effort on flexible displays (which has limited real use), and start giving us phones with colour e-ink screens!

I get how flexible displays improve durability, but the "advantages" of being able to curl it up etc.. I have always thought as disadvantages. It makes it hard to get a paper in a bag. It is hard to hold a broadsheet without it bending, the wind blows it around.

I would much rather have a phone that lasts for a week with usage. Heck if you are that worried about colour wash-out give me an option to choose the screen, place an LCD panel above, the e-ink screen below and let me switch when I want. My e-reader is getting less used because every company wants me to use their book store application.

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Re: Who cares about flexible?

Yup. Flexible displays are a bit of a gimmick. Not seeing the point.

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Re: Who cares about flexible?

They could even back-to-back on a phone with a conventional LCD / OLED display so you have the fast display on one side and the slow one on the other.

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Re: Who cares about flexible?

I personally hard real hard time to believe your claim about 'good reading devices'.

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Happy

Re: Who cares about flexible?

"Yup. Flexible displays are a bit of a gimmick. Not seeing the point."

Think "roller blind" and something the size of a fat fountain pen.

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A4

13 inches would more than fit an A4 sheet. I spend a lot of my time reading academia, most of which is distributed as A4 PDFs that just don't work on a kindle and are hard enough to read on a tablet. Unwieldy or not, if they're selling a 13 inch Ereader, I'm having it.

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Re: A4

I'd hope that more people will start producing documents in .epub.

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Paris Hilton

Re: A4

if they're selling a 13 inch Ereader, I'm having it.

Given the vendor, I'll restrain my interest until I know whether I'll need to run some awful Sony crapware to make the thing work at all. If I can push standard ebook format files to it via a standard usb mass storage interface, I'll be happy.

I'm interested mostly because it'll be something I can throw instructions on for dirty jobs... anything where I'm likely to be sticky, greasy or sweaty and might not want (or might not be able!) to get too close to a tiny-screened phone in order to read what I should be doing next, and definitely wouldn't want my PC too neat by...

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Re: A4

Given that Sony has had ePub support after their first reader not a prob. And most devices seem to go to mass storage as well when plugged in(all this info is available with a quick search).

I don't own one since I went with the Jinke Hanlin V3 running openinkpot myself. But if this 13" beasty comes out I'm definitely interested in getting it just for reading through various pages of install/config/etc... docs I usually need to.

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Re: A4

@James 51: The format is irrelevant, it's the size (in both inches and pixels) that matters. My wife and I both read loads of academic papers and they're all formatted for approximately A4. A kindle is about A6, and tables of data, complicated multi-line formulae or complex graphs become completely unreadable, both because of the size reduction and reduced resolution. If the e-reader also tries to reflow text that's supposed to be in a fixed layout the result is worse than useless.

I used to have an iRex Iliad that was A5 and that handled A4 PDF well enough for me, but my visual acuity is slightly freakish, and my wife simply couldn't read research papers on it. In the end it died a death, and they'd gone bust by that point. Nowadays I use a 10" cheapo Android tablet that is near enough A5 size, but it's heavy compared to an E-Ink device, the emissive screen tires my eyes faster than E-Ink and the battery life is ridiculously short in comparison.

There is a definite niche market in the research community for A4 PDF based document readers. Simple monochrome would do for 80-90% of uses. However, academics aren't renowned for their huge salaries and off shore bank accounts, so the price would have to be around that of a cheap 10" tablet to get any sales volume.

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Headmaster

Re: A4

Pedantry alert: A4 measures 210 by 297mm, or 8.3" by 11.7", so the diagonal is 14.3". The 13.3" screen will fit A4 as long as there is at least a 1cm margin on all four sides.

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Re: A4

Quite agree.

The new Kobo Aura HD has just about the resolution to let you read a page of A4 if you're prepared to accept small (but very clear) fonts. But something bigger - closer to the old Amazon DX would be ideal.

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Re: A4

@Arthur the cat

Not just the research community but anyone that has to read manuals on the job.

I have both a kindle DX an an Entourage Edge (dual screens - e-ink and LCD). The DX leaves much to be desired in its display of PDF documents, the EE is much better (allows making notes on e-ink side) but is much heavier to cart around.

As you say, price will be the determining factor to this taking off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A4

very good point.

looks like attempts to hit the market by a good device to read A4/Letter-sized documents w/o crappy re-flowing of PDF (which basically doesn't work) or simple scaling are being blocked.

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Re: A4

Sony = Memory Stick = Avoid.

Shame, it looks like what I want too.

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Gold badge

I know someone with severe arthritis and macular degeneration. So I want to sort her out with a large print eReader that doesn't weigh anything. This seems perfect. Big screen is important, because if you're viewing text at 20pt type, then a 5" screen means you're only getting a couple of words per page (which is just silly). So hooray for this, if true.

Sadly it'll also have to do Adobe Digital Editions for library books. What a pile of shite!

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Bronze badge

But can I wrap fish and chips in it?

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Joke

Didn't you read the article?!

It already has chips in it and is somewhat fishy ...

I'll get my coat.

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Back of a laptop?

You could make a laptop with a big flexible screen across the back - make the hinge snap into a lock when it's fully open and you've got a big flat surface covering the back of the screen and keyboard.

Or, on a smaller scale, clamshell mobile with the eInk across the back as a reader and then open it up into a communicator-style mobile.

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Silver badge

Nah!

The BIG question is how far you can stress the plastic substrate before the image-making gubbins breaks.

Are we ever going to have a reader that can, for example, be rolled into a case the size of a fat Sharpie pen like a small window blind so it can be carried in a smaller form factor than is best for viewing (this being the conundrum: smaller is better for carrying around but absolute pants for being a useful media consumption terminal)?

Will it be rigid enough to be useful when unrolled (a droopy surface will be useless for real use as modern day newspapers prove every time someone shakes one in your face to stiffen up the page he/she is reading on your commute)?

Will this technology ever be deployed in a manner that takes into account what people need from a portable reading technology, or will it be business as usual in digital tat land?

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Anonymous Coward

So, Rolled up screen for easy storage, attachable to a PC on a stick or iWatch type gadget for mobile computing just around the corner?

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