The Paperlike combines a 13.3" Fina E-ink display with custom driver software and a standard USB cable. It first showed up at CES 2015, but it is still under development and won't be going into production until this fall.
Now a lucky handful of early adopters will be getting a chance to buy a buy one before anyone else.
Earlier today I got an email from Dasung. The company wants to test the market and get feedback from enthusiastic users, so it has decided to produce a limited number of units. Ray Chen, co-founder and CTO of Dasung, told me that later this month Dasung will produce 50 (yes, fifty) Paperlike monitors and sell them first come, first serve.
Anyone who has previously contacted Dasung and begged, pleaded, or threatened bodily harm will be getting an email which invites them to buy a Paperlike.
Half the units are earmarked for China, where it will be sold for 4999 yuan (~$806 USD). The other 25 units will be shipped internationally. The price is a flat $950, shipping included, and Dasung plans to ship in June.
While that is a damned high price, I am expecting that this first production run is going to sell out within days.
LCD screens may not bother me a bit, but I've heard from dozens of people who get headaches and suffer other health issues from staring at a computer monitor too long. Even with the high price tag, the Paperlike is going to be a godsend.
While this isn't the first time an E-ink screen has been used as a secondary monitor, the Paperlike is the first to be developed with that goal in mind. Unlike the many ereader/monitor hacking projects on Youtube, the Paperlike will be running custom software which was developed specifically to give the Paperlike a response time as fast as an LCD screen.
As I discovered at CES 2015, the Paperlike has 3 display modes. In addition to the standard 4-bit 16 level grayscale mode found on your ereader, there is also a mode with only 5 shades of gray as well as a mode with 2 (black and white, basically). The faster modes sacrifice color shades for speed, resulting in a refresh rate which is almost as fast as an LCD monitor.
Here's a brief clip to show you the Paperlike in action:
Here's a longer clip I shot at CES 2015.
If you would like to try your chances at getting a Paperlike, you can reach Dasung at email@example.com.
I will be buying one, of course. I am also planning to sell it again a couple weeks later, so at least one person who missed out on the early production run will have a second chance.