The Alcatel Magic Flip was one of the high points of CES 2014, and I have just learned that this smartphone accessory slash ebook reader showed up at Computex last month.
The MagicFlip is now called the e-Card. From what I can tell it’s still not available yet, but on the plus side this ereader now works a lot better.
A video recently turned up on Youtube which shows the e-Card (or eCard, which I will now call it) displaying manga, and a couple blogs got their hands on the eCard at Computex. They found it in the E-ink booth (Charbax missed it when he toured the E-ink booth at Computex).
Sporting a 3.5″ E-ink screen, the eCard is designed to be paired an Alcatel smartphone over Bluetooth. And so far as I know, it isn’t intended to work with a competitor’s smartphones. Like the E-ink smartphone case from Gajah/Oaxis (old and new), the eCard requires a special app on the smartphone, but unlike the InkCase the eCard is also capable of working independently. The video suggests that the eCard can load an entire ebook and read it.
According to the description of the video (and the hands-on reports), the eCard can also display status updates, notifications (incoming call, SMS, alarms, email), weather info (this is shown in the video), and users can also push images to the eCard.
In many ways the eCard has features similar to smartwatches, only without the clunky weight on your wrist or the tiny screen. I don’t have a smartphone, but I did like how the eCard fit in my hand back at CES 2014. If this device ever hits the market it could well prove more popular than smartwatches.
At the very least I think the eCard could have more success than the txtr beagle. That smartphone accessory was intended to be simply an ereader when it launched in late 2012, but it has had little success on the market. By the end of 2013 it had only been picked up by a single telecom, in Hungary, and aside from the limited retail sales in Germany in 2013 the beagle is not available elsewhere.