Onyx Debuts E-ink Android Tablets With HD E-ink Screen, Frontlight, And More

Onyx Debuts E-ink Android Tablets With HD E-ink Screen, Frontlight, And More e-Reading Hardware The Chinese gadget maker Onyx might not have a major market share but they do have a number of innovative engineers. I have just come across a month-old mention of Onyx's newest ereaders, and they are a sight to behold.

Onyx is about to release not one but two new ereaders, and they both run Android. According to the product page, one even has a 4G chip built in.

I don't have any solid info on when these devices will hit the market or how much they will cost, but I can share the specs.

The Boox R65 is running Android 2.3 on a 1GHz CPU. It also has 256MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi. The 6" screen has a resolution of 1024x758 as well as a frontlight and IR touchscreen.

Onyx Debuts E-ink Android Tablets With HD E-ink Screen, Frontlight, And More e-Reading Hardware

This ereader supports a broad range of formats, including PDF, Epub, FB2, txt, and more. According to the specs it will support TTS, and it can also play MP3 and WAV files.

Onyx hasn't released any specs on the battery life, but I do know that this tablet weighs in at 248g, which is about 50g less than the Kindle Paperwhite. There's also no information on whether this tablet will ship with Google Play, but it will be an open device. As we saw in the video I posted a little while ago, Onyx plans to offer this as an Android tablet and that means you will be able to install your own apps.

I don't have much info on the Boox C65, but I would expect that this tablet will also be an open device. As you can see, it looks quite different from the R65, but it has the same CPU, screen, frontlight, and general features as the R65. It too is running Android 2.3.

But instead of an IR touchscreen, the C65 has a capacitive touchscreen. And assuming the specs aren't in error, the C65 also has 4G chip inside (in addition to the Wifi).

Onyx Debuts E-ink Android Tablets With HD E-ink Screen, Frontlight, And More e-Reading Hardware

To be honest, I'm not sure whether we can trust that detail. The listing for this ereader also shows that it weighs under 200g, or less than the R65. I would think that the addition of a 4G chip would also require a larger battery. Sure, the 4G would be turned off most of the time, but a bigger battery would still be a good idea.

Update: A reader has found a second set of specs that shows that the r65 has Wifi. There's no mention of 4G connectivity. Thanks, Cookie.

But we can set aside the question of whether this tablet has 4G because there is a bigger issue here. Both of these tablets run Android 2.3. That is a woefully out of date version of Android, and it will limit what can be done with these tablets. A number of apps already require a newer version of Android in order to use all the features and that situation is going to become even more common as years go by.

If you are thinking about getting one of these tablets and using it for a year or more, you're probably going to want a newer version of Android. I would. If nothing else it would give me the option of installing the newest apps, and IMO that is the whole point of buying an open device.

Boox C65

Boox R65

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. 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.

11 Comments

  1. Brad Linder14 May, 2013

    I think the 4G refers to 4GB of storage, with 3.5GB accessible to the user.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder14 May, 2013

      Maybe, but Onyx does have that E-ink smartphone, so the possibility that this tablet has 4G connectivity is not out of the question.

      Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder14 May, 2013

          Well, darn. Thanks.

          Reply
  2. […] at The Digital Reader did some digging, and uncovered two different versions of the Android […]

    Reply
  3. […] Fuente – The Digital Reader […]

    Reply
  4. […] Boox R65 und Boox C65 verschwimmen die Grenzen zwischen den Geräteklassen vollens. Auch diese beiden Geräte haben vollwertige offene Androids vorinstalliert (im Entwicklungsstadium leider ebenfalls die […]

    Reply
  5. ben15 May, 2013

    6′?

    Who cares about another cheap 6″?

    At least Kobo did better at differentiating themselves with the 6.8″ Aura HD, which is probably the minimum size for more or less immersive reading.

    That’s why I got one 🙂

    Wish someone will do 7.5″ or so.

    Reply
  6. Dude26 May, 2013

    256M of ram? That puts it in the “useless” category. I’d slate 512M as a minimum if it’s a real android tablet, e-ink or not.

    Reply
  7. Duderino11 June, 2013

    Nate,

    thank you for these exciting news. Can you share if there is any buzz of Onyx working on an 9.7″ reader with Android under the hood?

    Reply

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