After close to seven months of silence, Oaxis is back again today with a new E-ink smartphone case.
The InkCase i6 is a custom case that adds a secondary 4.3" E-ink screen to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. It has a 460 mAh battery, 128MB internal storage, Bluetooth, and a screen resolution of 480 x 800, and is designed to turn your iPhone into an aftermarket Yotaphone.
When paired with the companion apps running on your iPhone, the InkCase i6 becomes a secondary screen. You can push images or health info or you can read an ebook from one of the apps running on the iPhone.
The InkCase i6 went up for pre-order this week on the Oaxis website. The retail price is $99. It ships in November, but I'm not entirely sure that you should get it.
While the Oaxis has always been good at making halfway decent hardware, they're not so good at software. When I reviewed their last product, the InkCase Plus, in December 2014, I thought the software was disappointingly limited. It only offered a handful of features, and the InkCase Plus wasn't even capable of functioning when untethered from an iPhone or an Android device.
And to make matters worse, Oaxis hasn't added any features since last year, which means that the InkCase i6 will only be as marginally useful as the InkCase Plus.
But as bad as that sounds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Oaxis announced in August that they were releasing the software as open source, thus opening up the possibility that anyone can develop iOS apps that will work with an InkCase.
That is great news, but it does come with a caveat; I have no confirmation that Oaxis has followed through. I can't find the code on the Oaxis website or on Github, and I don't see any mention of it in the InkCase support forums.
If you're thinking of buying an InkCase and developing your own apps, you should check first before putting your money down. (And then let me know what you find out.)
This is potentially a fascinating device, but it won't meet that potential until someone does something about the software.
If you're that someone, feel free to drop me a line. I'd love to write about your app.