Tolino Shine Hacked – Revealed to be an Onyx E-ink Android Tablet

tolino shine androidWhen the Tolino Shine ereader launched a few months ago I immediately awarded it the title of most underwhelming generic ereader. Now it seems that I might have been too harsh.

I have just learned that the Tolino Shine has been hacked, and underneath the ordinary looking ereader facade lies the beating heart of an Android tablet.

The Tolino Shine has a 6″ HD E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen, giving it a nice step up on the Onyx E-ink Android tablet launching this Summer in Russia. The Shine also has 4GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi. And according to its Wikipedia entry, the Shine is running Android 2.3.4 on an 800MHz Freescale CPU with 256MB of RAM.

It retails for only 99 Euros, which is not a bad price considering it’s the next best thing to an E-ink Android tablet currently on the market.

tolino shine androidI don’t have much information just yet, but I do have a video and a few details posted by one hacker who has been working on opening up the Shine (and apparently is responsible for this hack). According to the Naberius blog, the Shine is running Android 2.3.4, and not any later version of Android.

That is an important detail because it tells us that the Shine isn’t the generic ereader that it first appeared to be. Instead it is almost certainly a design from the Chinese ereader maker Onyx.

I am making this guess because all of the Onyx E-ink devices that I have seen ran Android 2.3, and not any later version of Android.

Onyx has been working on Android tablets and smartphones with E-ink screens (more info) since at least October 2012, but so far as I know they had not released any of them. Obviously that was wrong.

Update: I have been told by my source that this ereader was developed by Longmire, not Onyx. Given the similar specs, design, and OS version I must conclude that Longmire is one of Onyx’s partners.

Right now the hack adds access to Google Play, and you can install apps (so long as they are compatible with Android 2.3). But before you get too excited, let me also add that the hack is not yet ready for the average user. That will take a little more time.


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. Chris Meadows29 June, 2013

    Longmire? What, it’s made by an A&E crime drama about a Wyoming sheriff?

  2. Iaminvincible29 June, 2013

    Will the root be stable? I suppose if the Onyx devices are stable when rooted, then this will be to.

  3. Leonid29 June, 2013

    Two lower-end versions of the Onyx Android e-readers, lacking a touchscreen and Wifi have already been released in Russia a week or two ago.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 June, 2013

      Two models? I only knew of the one. Thanks!

  4. Leonid29 June, 2013

    It’s actually a three-model line for the Russian market, with the first two models already available the the third one (which does include a touchscreen and wifi) should be released within a month or so. The difference between the two already released models is only an audio jack.
    I’m not sure how these models relate to the c65 and r65 that should be released for the international market.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 June, 2013

      No Wifi?!?

      Why the bleep would they do that?

      1. Leonid29 June, 2013

        In my opinion, there are two reasons for this. The first is that they can make cheaper devices this way, which is important as the Eastern Europe market consumes more cheap devices than the Western one.
        The second reason is that unlike the US and some of the European countries, East Europe does not have an ecosystem built around e-books. There are several big e-book stores, but the majority of ebooks is downloaded from illegal sites and sometimes pre-processed as not all files there are of a high quality. This means that the market is accustomed to load ebooks into a device through a computer and this kind of an audience does not necessarily need Wifi.
        In addition, I think that this is kind of an experiment Onyx are conducting in order to understand their market better to analyze which components of the ereader are more important and worth investing in.

  5. […] Mini without success, is based on the extracted firmware from a Tolino Shine. That 6″ ereader runs Android, and apparently it has enough hardware in common with the Kobo Glo that the code could be ported […]

  6. […] a 1GHz CPU. That means it is running a considerably newer version of Android that the Tolino Shine (available in Germany) or the Boox i63ML Maxwell (available in […]

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