This time around they are showing off an iPhone 5 case which replaces the E-ink screen with a Plastic Logic screen. Like the older case, the new case has a screen that promises to offer an ereader like reading experience with a low-power, sunlight-readable display, only now the case works with the iPhone 5S as well as the iPhone 5.
In combination with the PopSlate app, users can customize their case with the images they love, create dashboards with the information they need, and use their favorite apps in an entirely new, at-a-glance, context-aware manner. PopSlate is also working with leading artists to create dynamic content channels, so users can ‘pop’ a myriad of stunning images to the backs of their phones. And thanks to Plastic Logic’s proprietary tech, the new case should prove to be more rugged than the old.
But is this actually a new case?
As you probably recall, PopSlate announced a case last November (and pre-sold a couple hundred thousand via IndieGogo), but as I look over their website I do not see any sign that that older case was ever shipped. I also can’t recall any hands-on reports for this case, and that again makes me wonder whether it really shipped.
It’s not clear to me whether the case shown off today is the same case with an updated design or a later model, though I can see that the PopSlate website shows that they only offer a single model which is still up for pre-order today over 9 months after it debuted.
Details are still rather limited on the new(?) case. For example, while it is listed at a pre-order price of $129, I do not see any mention of an expected ship date.
I also don’t see any details on the screen resolution.
Update: Plastic Logic has told me that the 4″ screen they are supplying for this case has a resolution of 400×240, or about 115 ppi. That is a low resolution screen when compared to the ones that E-ink is selling (4.3″, 640×360).
I have reached out to PopSlate for an explanation for these discrepancies, and if they respond I will update this post.
Update: I got a response from PopSlate. This is the same case, and when they launched the IndieGogo project last year they did not yet have a finished design. That’s what they have been doing for the past 10 months:
Product development over the past 9-10 months, which has involved the key partnership with PL, are the fruits of that campaign. Along the way, we radically redesigned the product to have a wireless interface between case and phone, rather than a wired interface through the lightning connector. End result was a much better product, with a longer development timeline as the trade off. We are bringing this first product to market later this year.