Midia Inkphone E-ink Smartphone Now up for Pre-Order – $165

inkphone_ramka6[1]After nearly 2 years of waiting and being told the release was just around the corner, the E-ink Smartphone is finally about to arrive.

The Polish ereader distributor Arta Tech revealed on Wednesday that they have put the Midia InkPhone up for pre-order. Based on the Onyx E-ink smartphone some of us have been lusting after for the past 21 months, the InkPhone sports a 4.3″ E-ink screen.

The retail price is 121 euros plus tax and shipping, and Arta Tech expects to ship after 4 July.

This smartphone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread on  a single-core 1GHz MediaTek MT6515M CPU with 512MB RAM, a miniscule 512MB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. It ships with Wifi, Bluetooth, and EDGE connectivity. There’s no camera.

The Midia InkPhone has been under development for so long that it more closely resembles a budget smartphone than its distant kin, the dual-screen YotaPhone, and just about the only notable feature is its 4.3″ E-ink.

When Onyx first showed off their smartphone, it had a 4.3″ Pearl E-ink screen not too different from the screen on the cheapest Kindle, but thanks to the long development time the Midia InkPhone got the chance to use significantly improved screen tech.

Hands On

The 4.3″ E-ink screen on the Midia InkPhone is based on E-ink’s newer Mobius screen tech. Thanks to its plastic substrate, Mobius is is more durable than previous E-ink screens. The screen resolution is 800 x 480, and the Midia InkPhone has both a frontlight and a two-finger capacitive touchscreen.

Weighing in at 120 grams, the InkPhone has a 1.8Ah battery which is expected to offer up to 2 weeks of run time.

All in all this is really more of a $100/ 60 euro smartphone than one which sells for 121 euros, but I suppose if you want an E-ink screen you’re willing to pay extra and accept some compromises (the MediaTek CPU, for example).

Update: A reader has pointed out that the product page mentioned Android Market, not Google Play. (I didn’t even think to look for that.) Thanks, Sorin!

Gallery

product page

12 thoughts on “Midia Inkphone E-ink Smartphone Now up for Pre-Order – $165

  1. They use Android 2.3? I can´t believe it! I would like to buy an e-ink-smartphone, but not with such an old OS!

  2. Both the news article and the product page you linked state:
    “Android 2.3 with Google’s Android Market – let’s you browse millions of apps and install those you like and love”

    So it does have Play Store’s ancestor. I don’t remember now whether that was rebranded for old Android versions as well, if it was it should update itself to Play Store without issues.

    The price on the product page is 149 EUR, though. Much too expensive for what it can do.
    For 50-70 EUR I would consider adding it to my odd phones collection (as a true successor to my all-times favorite Motorola F3).

    I wouldn’t even mind the obsolete Android version, it could be considered vintage :)

  3. Thinking a little more about it, the Market app, as well as the old Android version, might come from the fact that they had to make some tweaks to the software in order to make it display and work acceptably on e-ink. (that could also mean that the update to Play Store is somehow blocked)

    Seems like a small company, so once the development was started, and then delayed, they didn’t have the resources to start from scratch with the newer versions, so they just went on with their initial “fork”.

    At least I HOPE that’s the explanation, since it would mean the phone actually had a chance to perform OK and be optimized so that the 2 weeks advertised battery life is not total BS.

    1. “Seems like a small company, so once the development was started, and then delayed, they didn’t have the resources to start from scratch with the newer versions, so they just went on with their initial “fork”.”

      Except Onyx has newer devices running Android 4.0 – My T68, for example. So I have trouble accepting that they are unable to update the firmware to use a newer version of Android. Perhaps Onyx didn’t want to bother and is instead working on a second model, possibly due out later this year?

  4. What a mess. JB and single A9 core is not ok. If you want to go power saving you go A7 but single core is too little at this point.
    As for price no idea how much the screen costs but all else is super low end , FF 20$ phone kind of budget – no joke ,it really is that low end.
    Even after all that ,my biggest problem with the product is that it doesn’t have solar on the back. If you are targeting crazy battery life ,you might as well go a bit further.

  5. Looks nice, but for that price, the specs don’t quite convince me. Looking at the 2013 Kindle Paperwhite 3G, which Amazon sells for 169 EUR here, or just about 20 EUR more than the Midia Inkphone after taxes and shipping, I wonder how they justify the phone’s price. An E-ink phone that size shouldn’t cost more than 100 EUR, including taxes and shipping. And this particular phone’s specs don’t look spectacularly impressive. For an early adopter, it might be interesting though.

  6. If you look at this device as a smartphone, the specs are abysmal. Especially Android 2.3
    But, this is not your typical smartphone for playing Angry Birds, watching videos or looking at maps.

    Look at it from the other side:
    – It is the only front-lit e-ink device with screen smaller than 6″, which means pocketable size. Ok, there is Yotaphone, but that is entirely different league.
    – It is the second most capable e-ink *reader* – its bigger brother Onyx Boox Lynx T68 takes the first place. You can install a dozen of reading apps and read more file formats than on any e-ink device
    – As a bonus you can install some apps from Google Play, such as spreadsheet or text editor
    – As an extra bonus, you can leave your dumb phone or feature phone home when you pack this.

    1. TBH I am more likely to pack a tablet than an ereader.

      But as it stands I think a great smartphone paired with a good ereader still presents a better value than the InkPhone. As the jack of all trades, it is the master of none. Also, don’t forget the saying about eggs and baskets; sometimes it’s better to have multiple devices.

    2. I agree with Name (required)

      I wanted a replacement for a book in size, this one really does fit in my pocket. I never used a smartphone for more then mail, making a lot of calls and some google.
      As a bonus I get the battery longevity.

      I’m trying it.

      Who would want an fast phone with a slower screen anyway?

  7. I would have pre-ordered one, but they’re now ‘out of stock’.

    Yes, modern Android and processor would be nicer, as well as more storage (just 512MB built-in flash!)

    But a front-lit 4.3″ Mobius screen makes up for all that.

    Think of it as a multi-platform eInk reader that can also work as a phone, rather than a phone that can also be used as an ebook reader.

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