Amazon’s Dual Sided Tablet Idea Shows up at IFA Berlin – as a Smartphone

Yesterday Amazon was awarded a patent for a dual screen LCD/E-ink tablet which had a screen on both the front and the back of the device. It was a cool concept, but at the time all i had to show you was a diagram. Today I can show you this.

That is a dual sided smartphone prototype. E-ink is showing it off this week at IFA Berlin. I don’t have any details yet on whether the second screen has a touchscreen as well, but it looks to me like this gadget is running Windows Phone, not Android.

There’s no word yet on which device maker has committed to the idea, but E-ink is saying that someone has a similar design in the works. And I’m sure more will release their own version. You can just look at it and know that someone will want to buy it.  But will it be cheap enough? That’s another question.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. The Commons31 August, 2012

    Good lord, that is one hilarious prototype. A supposed Windows Phone 7.5 device with android buttons? Is there a video of it in action? I’d wager that it’s less functional prototype and more mockup with e-ink side being able to switch between a few screens, and maybe responsive to touch.

  2. CJJ31 August, 2012

    Reminded me of how much I hated the Samsung Upstage, another dual screen, two-sided phone.
    Even a smartphoned, e-screened version couldn’t lure me back to a double sided phone.

  3. flyingtoastr31 August, 2012

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks that dual-screened devices are tacky.

  4. charlie31 August, 2012

    there is an Android app, launcher7 which allows you to run a launcher that looks like WP7. Its use here is probably just to illustrate the ability of this design to be used on any OS platform.

  5. Mike Cane31 August, 2012


  6. Ingo Lembcke31 August, 2012

    Except for the Windows-GUI I am interested in this thing. As a Kindle this would be an instant buy. May not be to practical, and certainly not as a phone, but a dual-screen E-Reader/Tablet certainly has my interest. I am still wrestling with myself to buy the Entourage pocket Edge on ebay. But it is just too old and too heavy.

  7. Smoley31 August, 2012

    I’d buy a smartphone with a single eInk display if it would improve the battery life.

  8. Peter31 August, 2012

    Okay, I know it looks dumb. But here me out:

    Smartphone battery life STINKS! If switching to E-ink for some tasks makes it better, even by a couple hours, that would really improve my life.

  9. nrapallo31 August, 2012

    Is that a rectangle with rounded corners….. oh no!!!!!

  10. Isles31 August, 2012

    E Ink is really starting to get annoying when it comes to their tech shows. They produce dozens of ridiculous E Ink prototypes that are almost guaranteed never to see the light of day. For example: an E Ink crosswalk, E Ink traffic lights, an E Ink music stand, and E Ink restaurant menus. Interesting ideas, but they just aren’t selling. I wish they would devote more of their time developing better high-definition reader screens.

  11. yuzutea31 August, 2012

    I think a Pixel Qi smartphone would be a better idea, because one screen is cheaper than two. Or what about a transparent LCD screen where you can turn off the backlight and still have it remain visible? That would also save power.

    I fear that the lack of any progress beyond Pearl shows us that e-ink tech has hit a wall, in terms of contrast.

  12. Design Matters on the iPhone5 - Display Central13 September, 2012

    […] front side display but also incorporating an E-ink backside display (see photo below courtesy of The Digital Reader).  A video showing (at the 15:30 mark) the E-ink product concept can be viewed here. (careful […]

  13. JBT28 September, 2012

    This is really getting frustrating. I have not seen any major player using color EPD technology. Not B&N, not Sony, not Samsung, not HP, not Amazon, not any major player in the US. Whatever happened to Mirasol, Liquavista, and E-ink’s Triton epaper technologies? Why would Amazon not make a color Kindle Touch? It’s not like users of e-ink based devices use them to watch videos, they only use it to read books, magazines and graphic novels! Target audience for ePaper tech readers are not video-centric. So Amazon and others should get over the fact that the tech is not ready for color!!! It’s here and it’s good enough! Hello?…why are they so clueless?

    1. Nate Hoffelder28 September, 2012

      No one is using color E-ink because it costs too much and offers too little.

      LCDs look great, and thanks to advances in battery life users don’t have to accept a poorer screen just so they have a device which lasts all day.

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