When Pocketbook first unveiled the CAD Reader last December it had a chunky design and was no where near ready to hit the market. A year later the CAD Reader is still months away from being shipped, but now the prototype is thinner and prettier.
While we still don't know what the production model will look like, Pocketbook says they're now showing off a new CAD Reader Flex which measures only 6.5 mm thin.
The new model still has a 13.3" E-ink display with a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, only now it is a plastic backed Mobius screen and not the Fina E-ink screen which was on the prototype when it was first unveiled last year. Pocketbook changed the design in June because the Mobius screen is more impact resistant.
Aside from the new screen, the new CAD Reader Flex looks to have more limited specs than the original design. Gone is any mention of Android; now the CAD Reader Flex runs Pocketbook's software on a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 8GB internal storage.
And while the CAD Reader Flex also has Wifi and Bluetooth, the new design appears to lack a frontlight or touchscreen (or at least they're not mentioned in the press release, even though the d-pad and page turn buttons are mentioned).
Update: I was right; Pocketbook has confirmed that the new CAD Reader Flex doesn't have a touchscreen or frontlight, and it doesn't run Android.
Assuming that Pocketbook didn't trip themselves up and forget to include key details in their press release (I'm still waiting for confirmation), the new CAD Reader Flex is a much less appealing design than the prototype that Pocketbook lent to E-ink for CES 2014.
That earlier design ran Android 4.0 and had 2GB RAM, and while the CAD Reader was supposed to be simply a locked down ereader for displaying blueprints, the OS and specs hinted that an industrious hacker would be able to turn the CAD Reader from a simple ereader into an E-ink Android ereader.
This would have let us install other reading apps, but now it looks like that is no longer possible. I don't know about you, but I suddenly find this design far less appealing.
Pocketbook is showing off the CAD Reader Flex at Autodesk University this week in Las Vegas, NV. If you have a chance to put your hands on it I would love to hear what you think.