With a price of nearly a thousand dollars and limited format support (PDF only), Sony's 13.3" E-ink writing is a tough sell for most users. While there are some business use cases, the average consumer has to work hard to justify the expense.
But after today's news, that should get easier. News is breaking on MobileRead this morning that a seller on the Taobao marketplace in China is claiming that he can hack a DPT-S1 and expose the underlying Android OS.
Send that seller your device, and pay him 800 yuan, and he promises to send back a DPT-S1 that runs Android 2.2. which looks like:
So is this real, or a hoax?
I'm still looking for someone who has used this service to hack their DPT-S1, but at this point I have little reason to doubt the story.
Sony's last three ereaders in the PRS line ran Android 2.2 (and could be hacked to access the OS), and Sony must have reused some of the code developed for those 6" ereaders when they developed the software for the DPT-S1. (This could also explain why the DPT-S1 has the three iconic Android buttons below the screen.)
And so with time, a lot of money, and a little trust, you can turn Sony's writing slate into an Android tablet.
That single act could double the DPT-S1's usefulness - if not for the fact it runs such an old version of Android. If this were Android 3.0 Honeycomb, or Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, this project could be worth the time ans expense.
But Android 2.2 is over five years old, and that means you will have trouble installing Android apps.