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March 2009
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Fujistu FLEPia features color eInk

Fujitsu has launched FLEPia – “color e-paper mobile terminal”. It features:

fujitsu-flepia

  • 8″ 1024×768 e-Ink resistive touchscreen that can display either 260,000, 4,096 or 64 colors. Depending on the number of colors page update time ranges from 1.8 to 8 seconds.
  • 158 x 240 x 12 mm size and 350g weight. This makes it larger and heavier compared to Amazon Kindle 2 (135 x 203 x 9 mm and 289g). I would imagine that version with 12″ screen would be even heavier.
  • SD slot that can accommodate up to 4GB of flash memory
  • Connectivity is represented by 802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth 2.0 and USB
  • It runs Microsoft Windows CE5.0 on XScale RISC CPU
  • Battery life is 40 hours or 2,400 page turns which is impressive for a device with these capabilities.
  • eBook formats supported are: BunkoViewer XMDF and T-Time .book. Both are eBook formats widely used on mobile phones in Japan. Since device runs a generic Windows CE5.0 OS I can speculate that it would be possible to broaden format selection by installing additional applications
  • Price tag is ¥100,000 ($940)

While I didn’t have the opportunity to play around with this device I’ll speculate a little bit…

Although some news sites might call this device a “Kindle Killer”, it’s obviously not that. First of all it’s geared heavily towards Japanese market and Japanese users. Secondly, it is not hooked to Kindle Book Store which is crucial to Kindle‘s success. My personal belief is that Kindle would have been successful even without eInk technology though maybe slightly less. And thirdly even 8″ version costs around $1,000 which is to high for “eBook reader for the masses”

It is good to see this device comercially released though because it would allow for further development of color eInk technology and eventually prices will come down and we’ll see more devices featuring it…

3 comments to Fujistu FLEPia features color eInk

  • Paul Gerard

    your comment that the Kindle would have done just as well with traditional display technology instead of e-ink is less than persuasive. Many many book reviews have come and gone using standard screens such as cell phone or even PC monitors. Those screens are not appropriate for reading. Their resolution does not display letters well enough for reading for any period of time, are hard on the eyes, are backlit which means eventually it seems you’re staring into a headlight why you are reading, and because they are backlit they drain a battery which is unacceptable for long periods of reading. E-ink is an absolutely essential ingredient of a winning e-book reader. That’s why all of the major players have them. That’s why none of the previous e-books ever gain any traction. Eventually, sometime in the future, there will be color e-ink. Until then, no e-book reader who buys a device for reading is going to put up with 2 second page turns — let alone 8 seconds.

  • admin

    My point was that vast selection of good books readily available for purchase was more crucial to success of Kindle than eInk. Sony had eInk 1 year earlier than Kindle and much good it did to them… :)
    I’m not diminishing importance of eInk and how easy it is on the eyes. The real genius of Amazon Kinlde is in the fact that eBook purchases are made extremely easy and that there are many books available that people actually want to read.

  • Zing

    “Eventually, sometime in the future, there will be color e-ink.”

    There already is, Paul. Did you not see the article you commented on? The page turns are slow *because* it is using e-ink. That’s what e-ink does, it displays pages extremely well at high resolution, with atrocious redraw times.

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