When 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.
I 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.
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.