This ereader, which was launched today at the Frankfurt Book Fair by the Tolino ebook consortium, improves upon the existing model by adding a waterproof feature. According to early press reports, the new Vision's internal electronics were coated in a nanoparticle solution which it is believed will make the Vision waterproof.
This differs from the Kobo Aura H2O or the Pocketbook Aqua, which have waterproof shells. Those other ereaders also have IP certification, which the new Vision lacks. Not to disparage the new ereader, but that lack of a certification means that the Vision's waterproof feature comes with a big asterisk and a reasonable question that it will be effective.
But I wouldn't let that turn you away, because the Vision's other new feature sounds quite nifty. The new Vision has the same 6" Carta E-ink screen, frontlight, and touchscreen found on its predecessor, so it should have similar performance in most circumstances, but it also has a touch-sensitive rear shell.
Tolino calls this Page2Flip, and they say that readers will be able to turn the page simply by tapping the rear of the Vision with one of their fingers. This effectively turns the entire backside into a page turn button, bringing am end to the discord between those who want page turn buttons and those who want a sleek design.
I don't have details yet on how Tolino pulled off this feature, but I have seen similar tech demonstrated at past trade shows so the new Vision didn't come as a complete shock.
When I was at SID Display Week earlier this year, I saw the Zephyr, a 21" blueprint ereader prototype from Printless Plans. That device sported folding design with a unique touchscreen tech that put the touch layer behind the screen. That probably sounds like a Wacom touchscreen, but the Zephyr's screen didn't require a stylus. Instead it had a net of pressure sensors which could detect when the screen was pressed.
I can't say for sure that the new Vision uses Tactonic's tech, and I also can't report that it works well. According to hands-on reports, the new feature is described as as being anything but intuitive; one blogger seemed relieved that this feature could be disabled in the settings menu.
To be fair, we'll have to wait for user reports to know for sure. Until then, we'll just have to be satisfied with this demo video:
The new Vision is going to be sold in Germany by Tolino partners, including Bertelsmann, Deutsches Telekom, Thalia, and others. The retail price will be 129 euros when the new Vision ships in November, when it will replace the existing model.
Update: There is some disagreement on the price. The Tolino Vision 2 is listed on Thalia's website for 149 euros, not 129. That includes a case, but there is no listing for a model at 129 euros.
That's going to make the Vision a lot cheaper than other premium ereaders, but then again it lacks the high resolution screen found on the Kindle Voyage or the larger and sharper screen on the Kobo Aura H2O. To be fair to all, the other devices have good reasons to command higher prices.