Onyx shows off producitivity-focused E-Ink convertible laptop "typewriter" and tablets in Hong Kong
The Kindle might be the most famous implementation of the technology, but E Ink devices have been around for years. The first commercial E Ink product was Sony's Librié, released 13 years ago in 2004, looked and functioned remarkably similar to the E-Ink readers of today. Chinese company Onyx is looking to advance the technology with some E-Ink products that push the boundaries of what we expect from the technology. Two interesting prototypes were shown off at the Hong Kong Global Sources Fair this week: a 2-in-1 E-Ink laptop designed for productivity called the Onyx Typewriter, and a high-performance 10.3-inch reader tablet called the BOOX Buddy.
The Onyx Typewriter, billed as the world's first E-Ink laptop, looks like quite a fascinating product. The grey plastic design with speakers on the bezels might call to mind the greyscale laptops of old, but it is built on new technology. The 2-in-1 sports a detachable display that can be used as a traditional E-ink tablet, runs Android, and connects with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (Bluetooth powers a special feature for document sharing between computers). The screen updates fast enough to keep up with typing and uses a special microchip developed to reduce power consumption to update the E-ink display. Onyx says users should expect 1-2 weeks of battery life depending on usage. The Typewriter could be a great productivity tool for writers who need incredible battery life or those who do work in direct sunlight—or typists who just want to save their eyes.
The 10.3-inch BOOX Buddy is an Android-powered E Ink tablet. The thin-and-light plastic tablet has support for annotations and digitizers (such as a Wacom stylus), but even those wouldn't be useful features if the tablet refreshed the screen as slowly as Kindle; fortunately, Onyx has managed to make the E Ink display update so fast that it is nearly as responsive as an LCD panel. The company hopes that creators will find the tablet useful for collaborative work.
E Ink is a unique display technology that has extremely low power consumption while remaining highly visible in sunlight. Because E Ink can use a plastic screen, it is easy to make products that are both flexible and rugged when utilizing E Ink displays. As these displays are not glossy and usually operate in natural light, they are also much less stressful on the user's eyes than a regular display.
Onyx estimates the products will be available in the second half of 2017.